SAU’s new community involvement organization Making Magnolia Blossom continues to gain momentum with more successful cleanup events and even recognition with a statewide volunteer award.
On August 25, MMB co-founders Aaron and Viktoriya Street accepted an award on behalf of the MMB leadership committee and SAU for the Arkansas Economic Development Corporation’s Volunteer of the Year Award. The presentation was given at the AEDC’s annual conference in Fayetteville. Cammie Hambrice of
the Magnolia Economic Development Corporation nominated MMB for this statewide honor.
The Big Splash Spring Edition on April 11, 2015, attracted around 100 volunteers who joined forces to complete several impactful projects downtown. The spotlight project this spring was restoring the circa 1940 service station near the square to its original royal blue and white colors. Around 20 volunteers,
including members of the SAU volleyball team and SAU president-designate Dr. Trey Berry, were able to finish this project in just over four hours.
Volunteer groups also updated the plants and flowers in the planters on the square, while others put a fresh coat of paint on the curbs and parking lines. Just off the square, several volunteers took on the overgrowth at the former drive-through bank at the corner of Washington and Union Street. Just across Union Street,
MMB assisted Columbia County Master Gardeners for a spring cleaning of the Wilson Memorial Garden.
Following the big spring cleanup, MMB organizers enacted smaller, monthly “Second Saturday” events. As the name suggests, MMB volunteers meet on the second Saturday of each month to target specific projects from 9 a.m. to noon. At the first Second Saturday in May, MMB volunteers picked up trash at major
intersections to tidy up the town prior to the Blossom Festival.
The two following Second Saturdays were dedicated to assisting the Boys & Girls Club of Magnolia to prepare to host a large regional tournament. This organizational partnership worked so well that MMB hopes to work with other area organizations for future Second Saturday events.
Looking ahead, a freshman residential college service learning community dedicated to MMB is being established this fall semester. The group will all live in the same residence hall and will take an active role in the planning and execution of MMB activities.
MMB plans to continue to host large community cleanups, monthly targeted Second Saturday events, and to expand into other opportunities to improve the quality of life and the civic engagement in Magnolia.