What has been the impact of working with MSU faculty and students on your agency?
Without the partnerships with students, faculty, organizations, groups and clubs at MSU, we truly believe we wouldn't be where we are today. It's opened up many opportunities for growth and engagement with a demographic we wouldn't necessarily reach without those partnerships. One example of a class project that was a catalyst for our long term goals is the work done by the MSU third year Architectural Dept. students during their Fall semester project. Students visit the Hospitality Hub in Memphis to see the life rehabilitation homeless shelter, which is Starkville Strong's model we are attempting to create here. Teams create renderings and proposals with designs and blueprints for what will be our very own community hub. We've also had several Business Department capstone projects choose Starkville Strong to create business plans, supply chain improvement and better pantry procedures for our organization. These resources are imperative for a small organization like us.
What is something important you have learned through the process of engaging with the students?
Students need a lot of guidance and support through the various stages of planning, executing and implementing their projects. It's been a learning curve to figure out exactly how much support we can give with our tight schedules and daily operations, but still prioritize engaging with them to help the project be the best it can be. MSU students ask really good questions and they are genuinely interested in the community. We realize more than ever how crucial our partnerships and relationships are with the university and we hope to continue to foster those in all the best ways.
What advice do you have for other community agencies, organizations, or businesses on partnering with MSU?
Our strong belief is that any partnership should be mutually beneficial. With that in mind, we'd say to other agencies, organizations and businesses they should come to the table with an openness to ideas that will further the objectives of both the university and their organization. Beautiful and lasting partnerships flourish when that mindset is a priority.
January 10, 2024