Gazebo Gazette

Piggybacking on the phenomenal popularity of “Cruisin’ the Coast,” the School of Leadership at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is hosting “Southern Miss Cruisin’ ” set for Monday, Oct. 3 at the University’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, Miss.

The inaugural event will be held from 3-5 p.m. on the front lawn of the campus (730 East Beach Blvd., Long Beach). Cruisin’ the Coast – billed as American’s largest block party – is set for Oct. 2-9 at various sites along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where thousands of car owners will showcase their automobiles. While cool cars remain the star of the annual extravaganza, USM’s School of Leadership stresses that fun and camaraderie share equal billing in Southern Miss Cruisin’.

Bradley Winton, Assistant Professor of Management in the School of Leadership, serves as the event’s organizer. He points out that research conducted by the school shows that Cruisin’ the Coast represents the most economically impactful event hosted by the Mississippi Gulf Coast, attracting car enthusiasts from around the state and across the United States.

“The College of Business and Economic Development and the School of Leadership have not historically been involved with the Cruisin’ event, but considering the number of CBED alumni that take part, we saw Cruisin’ as an opportunity to bring alumni, current students, faculty, staff, and friends of Southern Miss to the Gulf Park campus to participate in such an important event for our community,” said Winton.

Registration for the USM event is not required and parking has been set aside in the parking area and street between the Great Lawn and Lloyd Hall on the Gulf Park campus. Light refreshments will be provided.

Winton notes that Southern Miss Cruisin’ is significant for several reasons – chief among those the opportunity for the School of Leadership to host alumni on the Gulf Park campus for what might be the first time and enable them to interact with students, faculty, and staff who already relish the campus.

“Even those alumni who reside on the Gulf Coast may not realize Southern Miss has a campus right here in Long Beach,” said Winton. “The Southern Miss Cruisin’ event provides an opportunity to ‘show off’ this beautiful campus and what it can offer students.”

Secondly, the event connects the Gulf Park campus to significant festivities associated with the larger Cruisin’ the Coast’ itinerary. Winton says organizers purposely chose Oct. 3 to host Southern Miss Cruisin’ considering that the majority of “cruisers” will be in the Long Beach community for cruising and music events at that time.

Third, and finally, Winton explains that the Gulf Park campus plays a vital role in the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s burgeoning blue economy.

“An important objective of Southern Miss Cruisin’ is to increase awareness and support for Gulf Park so that our impact on the blue economy can continue to grow,” he said. “The Cruisin’ the Coast event provides a perfect opportunity to blend the goals of the blue economy initiative with the mission of the Gulf Park campus to educate our coastal community.”