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Alicia Austin and Carlesha Mack check out the menu at one of seven food trucks lined up in front the DeSoto Center campus in Southaven Tuesday. The trucks were there as a part of an event to promote the 2+2 program where students can seamlessly achieve their Northwest Mississippi Community College and University of Mississippi education on one campus.  

Bob Bakken|DTT

The vending machines and the restaurant on the DeSoto Center campus in Southaven shared by Northwest Mississippi Community College and the University of Mississippi had a little extra competition recently, but it was all for a good purpose.

The schools have a unique education program called “2+2” and seven Memphis-area food trucks were parked in front of the campus to help promote the program to the students and the general public.

In the 2+2 program, students can enroll at Northwest and after completing their associate degree requirements can continue their education for a four-year baccalaureate degree from Ole Miss on the same campus.

From Kona Ice to MemPops, BBQ, sushi and everything in between, the popular food trucks came to the Southaven center to offer a lunch break from studies on a sunny Tuesday.

Northwest DeSoto Center Dean Jeremy Isome said 2+2 has been part of the DeSoto Center’s programming from the very start.

“We are in our 21st year of the partnership that we’ve had,” Isome said. “It really came together when we moved to this location in 1995. The faculty and the staff work together on the Northwest side and the Ole Miss side to ensure the students have a seamless transition from the community college over to the university in order so they can get finished with their degree.”

Rick Gregory, Executive Director for UM-DeSoto, said just because the schooling is done in Southaven doesn’t mean the degree is less than what one would get enrolling on the main campus in Oxford.

“They’re getting the same degree that they would if they went off to school somewhere,” Gregory pointed out. “The degree is at a considerable savings. Having this opportunity gives them the sense of hope to fulfill the dreams that they have for their career future.”

The programs that are offered including accounting, business, criminal justice, education, general studies, journalism, liberal studies, paralegal studies and social work, Isome said.

“It’s a great partnership and it’s really unique,” said Isome. “A lot of times you find community colleges and universities have an agreement to work together, but this really is a true partnership between both sides working together for the overall benefit of the students. It’s a wonderful thing that we have here and it’s right here in DeSoto County.”

Gregory added that students who graduate from the DeSoto Center typically are commuter students who stay in DeSoto County after they’ve completed their education.

“Students who graduate from our program reinvest themselves in this community,” Gregory said. “They typically don’t move off because they are already here.”

While students were taking a break from the schoolwork Tuesday, they were also being reminded about how they keep the path to a career going, simply by staying on the same campus.

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.

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