MLK Day of Service: “A Day On, not a Day Off”
Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve”. At UNCA on MLK Day, 50 students answered this call to service. At 11 AM on January 16th, students from Alpha Sigma Phi, ADVANCE, the Black Student Association, the Appalachian Poverty Alternative Spring Break, the Residence Hall Association, and many others gathered in the Intercultural Center to participate in the MLK Peace Rally and March and community service.
Students worked with DeWayne Barton, an organizer in the Burton Street Community, to help clean up a ravine and spread mulch for a garden. Students also worked with organizers of the Peace Garden in the Pisgah View Community to prepare the garden for spring planting, and did projects with the YMI and the Habitat Restore, helping clean and organize event spaces and inventories.
Several of the students working at Habitat Restore were tasked with cleaning out refrigerators so they could be reused. In the van on the drive back to campus, these students reflected on the importance of access to refrigeration for food safety. This is something that many in the United States (though not all) take for granted. However, they noted, in many parts of the world, access to refrigeration is often not possible or practical. Student participants from the Residence Hall Association (RHA) reflected that they had a great time working with the Pisgah View Peace Garden, and are hoping to continue to collaborate with that project throughout the semester.
The Day of Service was organized primarily by the Office of Multicultural Student Programs and the Office of Special Programs. The Key Center for Community Citizenship and Service Learning helped recruit students for the various projects. The MLK Day of Service has become a tradition at UNCA, and hopes to attract even greater student participation next year.