Contact: John Culclasure, Southeastern States Assistant Director
On October 13, the Mississippi State University (MSU) Collegiate Sportsmen and Women’s Coalition hosted its inaugural interest meeting on the campus of MSU. The meeting was attended by over 25 in-person attendees along with several guests that attended virtually.
The MSU Collegiate Sportsmen and Women’s Coalition, which was formally approved as a MSU student organization the following week, is a new approach to engaging college students in support of our time-honored traditions, by providing outdoor recreation opportunities for the youth of the MSU local community, and educating participants on how to effectively engage in the policy process to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting, and trapping. The Coalition will be supported by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) in efforts related to both the recruitment, retention, and reactivation of sportsmen and women, as well as policy training.
Mark Lance, Founder and President of the MSU Collegiate Sportsmen and Women’s Coalition, emceed the meeting and spoke to attendees about the goals of the organization. Other speakers included Jeff Crane, President of CSF; James Cummins, Executive Director of Wildlife Mississippi and CSF Board Member; Herb Frierson, former National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council Member, former Co-Chair of the Mississippi Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and former Mississippi Commissioner of Revenue; and Dr. Mark Keenum, President of MSU.
The speakers touted Mississippi’s storied sporting heritage and highlighted the strong connection between CSF and the network of pro-sportsmen elected officials in the state, including Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Tate Reeves, the Mississippi Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, and numerous members of the Mississippi Congressional Delegation who are also members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. The speakers also underscored the importance of having a student-led organizational structure that focuses on creating outdoor recreation opportunities for youth and engaging college students with elected officials on policy priorities pertaining to hunting, angling, recreational shooting, and trapping.
MSU is the first university in the nation to develop and launch a Collegiate Sportsmen and Women’s Coalition and hopes to inspire additional universities to follow suit. To stay up to date with the MSU Collegiate Sportsmen and Women’s Coalition, follow them on Twitter.
Keishon Gaines (Treasurer), Nikki Castilaw (Secretary),
Mark Lance (President), Tanner Marlar (Communications Officer),
Jacob Aron (Vice President), and James Cummins (CSF Board Member).
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?