Sprucing up Starkville

From the eastern edge of Mississippi State University to the western stretch of Highway 12, volunteers fanned out across Starkville Wednesday to spruce up the community in advance of Saturday’s MSU football game.
The seventh Get Swept Up event drew more than 520 volunteers, the most to date, said Libby Gerald, the project coordinator.
The vast majority of those cleaning up agreed to do so in advance. However, a few people even dropped in Wednesday to help, Gerald said.
“I think things have gone really well,” Gerald said, noting she was especially pleased with Wednesday’s weather. The day started out and remained warm breezy with limited cloud cover through 1 p.m.
Gerald also mentioned the participation of students from Starkville High School and Starkville Academy. She also said: “They are excited about service to the community.” Plus, “it helps students understand littler is a problem,” Gerald said.
The volunteer base included a sizable contingent from MSU’s Maroon Volunteer Center, she said. The MVC is “a student-driven initiative that encourages and supports community involvement and volunteer service,” according to the organization’s website.
Also, those working off community service through the city and county also participated, she added.
Crews were scheduled to make a variety of improvements across many segments of the community, including but not limited to at least portions of downtown, Highway 182 and 12, Gillespie, Green, Jackson, Lafayette Louisville, Montgomery, Russell, Spring, Washington and Whitfield streets, Academy, Artesia and Oktoc roads and Lynn Lane.
Sponsors included Verizon Wireless, Mediagraphix Photography, the MSU Community Action Team, Eat
With Us, Prudential Starkville Properties, Spruill Property Management, Starkville Martial Arts Academy, Coldwell Banker S.R.E., Comfort Suites, Shep’s Cleaners, Starkville Computers, Shopping-Bargains.com and The Book Mart and Cafe. The event was organized through the Greater Starkville Development Partnership.
The sponsors are people with community-minded businesses and organizations who “love Starkville and their support is essential to the success of this project,” said Allison Matthews, the GSDP’s vice president of membership and community development.
The effort took place in cooperation with Keep Mississippi Beautiful and http://www.volunteerstarkville.org/.
“We’ve had a phenomenal response. This is an event which brings out the best” in people wanting to give back to the community, Matthews said.
“It really shows what you can accomplish with a team effort with so many people coming together for a common purpose today,” she said.
Wednesday’s service time was the culmination of a month-long emphasis on encouraging Starkville residents and business owners to make repairs and other enhancements around their properties in advance of the start of the Mississippi State football season.
The MSU Bulldogs take the field against the University of Memphis Tigers at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field Saturday at 6 p.m.

Editor’s note: See Monday’s Education section for more on how a local school participated in Get Swept Up.