Building Community Through Giving

Photo of Matt Eddy in the Grove

When Matt Eddy completed his first two years of college at Coastal Alabama Community College in Bay Minette, Alabama, he already had a list of service accomplishments and honors to take with him on his journey.

Eddy was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, an organization that recognizes high achievement at the community-college level, where he served as vice president of service.

In this role, he organized events, such as local blood and book drives that gave back to the campus and the surrounding community. He worked with a local Marine Corps unit to organize a Toys 4 Tots program to supply toys for families in need.

By the time graduation rolled around, Eddy was named the Business Administration Student of the Year and graduated Magna Cum Laude. He had received a full scholarship to CACC and had made his mark. But, what was next? Where would he finish?

“I selected the University of Mississippi because of the great educational opportunities and specifically the top-rated business school,” he said. “I also decided on Ole Miss because I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and close interactions the students had with their professors.

“Additionally, Oxford has a lot to offer—similar to my hometown of Fairhope, Alabama.”

Community involvement and service have been a passion of Eddy’s for as long as he can remember. He was a volunteer firefighter in high school, as well as the president of the Interact Club (the high school version of Rotary International), and served as a board member of Project Outreach, a program that worked with special-needs children.

So, it’s no surprise that the past two years have been busy for Eddy. “Since arriving at the university, I have made it my goal to become active on campus,” he said. “When I got to Ole Miss, I noticed there was not a Rotaract Club (the college version of Rotary International).”

Around this time, he met marketing professor, Dr. Laurie Babin, who was also new to campus. Babin had worked to establish a Rotaract Club at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, where she worked prior to coming to Ole Miss.

Eddy and Babin got together to re-establish a Rotaract at Ole Miss. “We created the club and built an executive board,” he said. “In October 2019, we got approval from the Student Union as an RSO (Registered Student Organization) and from Rotary International.

“We were just beginning to rapidly grow our club and start service projects when the pandemic hit.”

The group met via Zoom and YouTube to stream their monthly meetings; participated in online service projects, where they wrote letters to children in hospitals, and had a week of service where members could do a range of socially-distanced activities in their respective communities, such as cleaning up trash in various neighborhoods in Oxford and on campus; donated food to the local food pantry, and took food to local fire stations and the Veteran’s Home

“Matt’s initiative to reinstate Ole Miss Rotaract demonstrates not only his passion but also his leadership abilities,” said Babin. “He didn’t just start something that would fall apart after he graduates, but rather, he built an executive team and created a sustainable organization impacting our community that is led by students.”

In addition to his work with Rotaract, Eddy has served the university and the business school, as a Chief Emissary Officer (CEO). These students represent the business school’s student body and help recruit high school and transfer students. He has also been involved with the Student Marketing Association and the Transfer Leadership Organization.

Eddy’s journey has been filled with great opportunities to meet people and to serve. “My advice to any incoming student is to make the most of your time in college,” he said. “Go to things; get involved. College will be over before you know it.”

By Stella Connell

Posted in: Student Profiles