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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

14th Annual Books & Bears Drive Gives Campus Way to Say Thanks

Most of them work the graveyard shift. From dusk to dawn, they clean, straighten, repair and prepare the University of Mississippi for next day.

“The work of our custodians, groundskeepers and other Physical Plant staff members is key not only to making this huge university enterprise work smoothly but also to making the entire campus environment as pleasant as possible for more than 17,000 students, faculty and staff,” said Jackie Certion, president of the Black Faculty and Staff Organization and senior academic adviser in the Academic Support Center.

To show appreciation for the Physical Plant staff’s dedication, the BFSO collects new teddy bears, children’s books and toys each year to present to children of custodial and grounds workers. Donated items for the 2011 “Books and Bears” drive will be distributed after a reception for Physical Plant employees and friends at 10 a.m. Dec. 16 in the Ole Miss Union Ballroom.

“The response to the university for donated gifts is always overwhelming as there are always plenty of gifts to go around,” Certion said. “This is an appreciation opportunity for those university employees whose work so often goes unrecognized but whose tireless efforts greatly benefit our comfort and aesthetics.”

Donations to the 14th annual Books & Bears drive can be dropped off at several campus locations: third floor of the Khayat Law Center, the provost’s office in the Lyceum, the Department of Mathematics office in Hume Hall, the UM Box Office in the Union, Room 350 of Martindale Hall and the second floor of Vardaman Hall.

“Our service workers provide the fuel which powers the UM engine,” said Donald Cole, associate provost and assistant to the chancellor for multi-cultural affairs. “Because of their dedicated service to the university, we are able to maintain our margin of efficiency. As members of the UM family, they reflect the core values of diligent work, optimism and family dedication inherent in our institution.”

For more information, contact Jackie Certion at 662-915-5970 or, or Don Cole at 662-915-1712 or