By NATHAN GREGORY
Mississippi State University students still familiarizing themselves with the Starkville Landscape will only have to walk to the Drill Field Monday to find out more about local businesses and the services they offer.
More than 50 local business representatives will set up booths for the inaugural MSU Student Association-sponsored Shades of Starkville event from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. During that time students can get to know area businesses and enter free giveaways.
MSU graduate assistant and event coordinator Daniel Fisher said Shades of Starkville is a stronger combination of what used to be to separate but similar events.
“Shades of Starkville combines two annual events, the Showcase of Starkville and the Student Organization Fair, into one larger program offering students the opportunity to visit with both Starkville businesses and current student organizations to become not only more involved on campus but also more active within the community. Over 50 local businesses will be participating this year, effectively doubling numbers from last year,” Fisher said. “We hope Shades of Starkville will continue to improve the relationship between MSU and the City of Starkville, especially those between students and local business owners. Moreover, we aim to expand upon this concept and event, bringing in even more businesses in the future.”
Greater Starkville Development Partnership Vice President for Tourism and Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Gregory said social media was used to offer input on strengthening the connection between students and community and to get show benefits businesses can receive from setting up on campus and providing information about their services.
“We are really pleased to find out that the Student Association was planning the Shades of Starkville event. From what we understood the revisions and changes made to that event from last year were a direct result of feedback from our Twitter Town Hall (program in February). A lot of Student Association officers participated in that. One resounding theme was that students and businesses in the community were not in touch and didn’t know how to reach each other,” Gregory said. “The SA really took advantage of that feedback and made plans for this event so that businesses in the community have a very physical way to reach the MSU students and students can take advantage of learning new businesses. I’m pleased we were able to get the word out and commend the Student Association on their efforts to bridge that gap.”
Local eateries taking part in the event include Bulldog Deli, The Grill, Harvey’s, Local Culture, Mugshots, Oby’s, Rick’s Cafe, Sweet Peppers and the Veranda.
Local clothiers participating include B. Davis Shoes, Deep South Pout, Harmonie Boutique, L.A. Green, Libby Story and Oooh La La Boutique.
Participating area banks on hand will include Bank of Commerce Cadence Bank, Regions, Citizens Bank, Merchants and Farmers Bank and Trustmark National Bank.
Representatives from churches will also be on hand. Crosspoint Church, the Episcopal Church of MSU, First Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church will have members available to talk to students.
Other local businesses with booths include: Bath Bayou; Campus Book Mart; Campus Bookstore; City Alignment; Family Veterinary Clinic; Gator Computers; Hair Studio; Mia Salon, ProGraphics, Starkville Computers, Starkville Interiors, Stewart’s Florist, Sullivan’s Office Supply, Techguyz, Tractor Supply Company and University Screenprint.
MSU SA President Shelby Balius said she’s looking forward to the amount of activity that will be on the Drill Field as a result of the first day of the fall semester coinciding with Shades of Starkville.
“We are looking forward to being able to host this again to not only show what we offer on campus, but also the Starkville community,” Balius said.