By Gabriel Arteaga, TDC National Manager
Since 1994, every third Monday of every January, the United States celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day, which is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.”
Earlier this year, TDC and ADP put out a call for campuses to share with us their efforts to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 2015. We received very impressive and fulfilling responses from our member institutions, which we felt put into perspective MLK’s underlying question of public service, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’”. While we wish we could highlight every MLK campus event, we selected only a few at random to help us spotlight the wonderful and uplifting educational and volunteer activities that were organized in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by our campuses.
Highlights from MLK Day of Service:
- The MLK Day of Service at Macomb Community College is their largest volunteer event. On January 19th, Macomb college president, Dr. James Jacobs, kicked-off their event and welcomed attendees followed by announcing this year’s Macomb MLK Student Essay Contest Winner, Dakota Jackson. His essay titled, As Friends. As Family. As Equal along with essays from runner-up winners, Elizabeth Powell and Robert Berry can be found on the Macomb MLK Day of Service website here. Congratulations winners and Macomb Community College for your dedication and valuable service to your community.
- As described by their website, Eastern Michigan University has a “strong tradition of discourse, learning opportunities, creative expression, and community building in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” EMU held a wide-variety of different events including a march through campus, student forums and academic programs. In addition, EMU hosted their 29th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Presidents Luncheon where individuals both inside the campus and in the community are recognized for their exemplarily work and dedication.
- The University of Alaska Anchorage welcomed Dr. Bernard Lafayette, a Civil Rights Movement activist and Freedom Rider who worked alongside Dr. King Jr., to speak at their 21st Annual MLK Student Appreciation Luncheon. Dr. Lafayette gave a riveting speech about his first-hand experience and perspective during this pivotal time in our nation’s history.
- The Missouri State University’s MLK celebration elected the theme, “The Dream Still Matters.” It had an impressive agenda that included a community service luncheon, a service day with hundreds of volunteers, a voter registration drive for students, an interactive forum to discuss civil rights and MLK’s work, and a student scholarship dinner.
- Salem State University (Mass.) kicked off their 29th Annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with a candlelight vigil and freedom march through campus. The theme of their celebration was “Our Journey Toward Justice,” SSU’s MLK Day planning committee expressed on their website that it was important to discuss and renew, “our shared responsibility to advocate for justice and equity in all that we do by reflecting and learning together.” Their MLK Day of Service activities brought together students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members to volunteer with a wide variety of different non-profit organizations like, Girl’s Inc., Habitat for Humanity, and St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, to name a few. To view a full list of all the activities and volunteer opportunities that SSU hosted for MLK Day of Service, please visit their website at http://www.salemstate.edu/mlk_celebration/.
Want to know more about the logistics of each event? Contact us so that we can connect you with each campus coordinator or reach out to the campus directly to see how you can start planning your very own MLK Day of Service event at your school next year.
It’s never too early to start organizing!