As the next step in an ongoing program to document, analyze, and interpret the implications of changing population dynamics in Mississippi communities, a group of faculty, staff, and students (undergraduate and graduate) from the University of Mississippi and the University of Michigan recently worked with community organizations in Mound Bayou and Okolona, Mississippi. Also involved were University of Michigan community partners from Flint, Michigan.
From May 14 – 19, 2012, the group engaged in diverse activities to develop and refine “community profiles” for partner organizations to use in planning, grant proposals, and advocacy initiatives. Activities included: a workshop on use of secondary data for population studies, a workshop on on field research methods, several hands-on “labs” for data analysis, delivering presentations to community members, participatory dialogue meetings, and key-informant interviews. Day-long visits were made to Mound Bayou and Okolona, along with a meeting at the Center for Community and Economic Development at Delta State University.
The culminating event for the week was a meeting held at the Depot on the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford. Students presented revised versions of the community profiles to an audience of university representatives and partners from Mound Bayou and Okolona. Among the participants were representatives from the Mayor’s Office for the City of Okolona, the AmeriCorps*VISTA partnership with Baby Steps, St. Gabriel Mercy Center, the Mound Bayou Office for Congressman Bennie Thompson, and the Cotton Pickers of America Monument. The presentations were followed by a group discussion about the research findings and the broader notion of community-campus partnerships. The event concluded with lunch. The University of Mississippi Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Study USA program co-sponsored this event.
See the introductory presentation by clicker here.