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Mississippi College Welcomes New Students in August 2020


Mississippi College supporters always step things up to welcome new students with a blitz of special activities.

Welcome Week events will undergo changes in August to see that MC students stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Usually, Back to the Bricks resembles a lively two-hour street festival as hundreds of students gather in downtown Clinton streets for a warm welcome from area merchants. From one year to the next, there’s live music, free ice cream, fun games, discount coupons, and Campus Dining staffers supplying meals.

But due to social distancing, avoiding big crowds and other health initiatives, Back to the Bricks is taking a new route in 2020.

The Back to the Bricks block party in Olde Towne happens each summer due to a partnership between the City of Clinton, Main Street Clinton and the Chamber of Commerce.

Despite the format change, city leaders, merchants, local churches and other organizations will toss out the welcome mat as students stay on campus.

“We have reached out to businesses and asked them to submit a welcome video (15-30 seconds) that the college will air on their social media during Welcome Week,” says Tara Lytal, director of Main Street Clinton.

“Some will put up welcome signs at their businesses,” says Lytal, an MC graduate. Other businesses will donate $25 door prizes to be given away during Welcome Week. Students will discover store discount coupons in their residence halls.

There’s more to come. Clinton Mayor Phil Fisher is recording a message to greet Mississippi College newcomers. City of Clinton communications director Mark Jones, an MC graduate, is producing a virtual tour of downtown Clinton and other sections of the vibrant community in Hinds County.

The Mississippi College family will stay busy making students feel right at home. It begins with several move-in days (August 8-14) as freshmen get settled at residence halls on the Clinton campus. Faculty and staff volunteers will help direct traffic as well as greet students.

“We are planning a variety of events and programs for this year’s Welcome Week while keeping health and safety in mind,” says Jonathan Nutt, director of student engagement. “We are also following CDC and government guidelines as well.”

To keep students safe, there will numerous hand sanitizing stations all over the Clinton campus. Temperature checks will be the norm. Fall classes begin August 17.

Welcome Week will include both virtual events and programs, as well as small, in-person activities.

“Our goal is to make our new students feel welcome while keeping their safety our number one priority,” Nutt said.

Despite Welcome Week changes, freshman Mary Margaret Freeman of Meridian says people are doing all they can given the circumstances. She’s one of 15 new freshmen in the Honors College.

“So far, I’ve been very impressed with the length the staff at MC has reached to ensure that we, specifically freshmen, feel as comfortable as possible,” Freeman says. “Despite the stress of it all, I am still excited to be a Choctaw!.”

Melanie Hunsberger is delighted her niece, Sierra Lee, 18, of Dyer, Tennessee will be an MC freshman in a few weeks. “Team MC has clearly worked hard, along with the community of Clinton to find alternative and safe ways to make each and every incoming freshmen feel as excited and welcomed as ever, in spite of COVID-19 restrictions.”

The university, said the Tupelo resident, deserves to be commended for plans to prioritize the safety of MC students from the day they arrive on the Clinton campus.