Gazebo Gazette

The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach is getting an upgrade, precisely a $2.5 million upgrade thanks to Mississippi lawmakers.

The grant comes from a bill that awards $50 million in BP settlement funds to various Mississippi Gulf Coast counties. Senate Bill 3047 was passed in both chambers in March 2023 and ultimately approved by Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves.

The USM Visualization and Digital Multimedia Unit of Excellence will work together with the Film Studies and Production program and others across the Coast. The unit aims to promote a better understanding of the oceans, coasts, and the Blue Economy that they sustain. One of the overarching goals is to enhance creativity in students through film studies and to prepare USM students for high-demand occupations in careers relevant to the Blue Economy.

Associate Professor of Film, Vincenzo Mistretta said this new unit will provide greater opportunity for USM students.

“The Film Program at USM’s Gulf Park campus is designed to immerse students in the study and practice of film as an expressive and professional art form,” said Mistretta. “The new unit will expand our ability to offer creative storytelling capabilities through experiential learning. Deeply rooted within the diverse environment of the Mississippi Gulf coast, the USM Film Program provides a platform where students can cultivate intellectual development and creativity to help transform their community. The unit will help us nurture collaborative learning experiences that emphasize problem-solving, communication skills, and social engagement.”

The unit will also be the host of an annual environmental film festival and use to promote stories that impact people living in coastal and maritime areas. USM students will have the opportunity to have hands-on experience in state of-the-art film, digital and multimedia technology.

According to Dr. Jacob Breland, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, the unit will become the central location for this type of expertise in the Gulf Coast region.

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution delivering transformative programs on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, at teaching and research sites across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as online.