MLK Day of Service brings together OU community


Kevin Bradsher

Some volunteers get to organize the toys and other donations that have been brought to the Grace Centers of Hope throughout the year.

Honor the work of Martin Luther King Jr. by uniting with other volunteers at Oakland University’s MLK Day of Service.

Many diverse nonprofits are taking part in the event, which takes place Jan. 28. These includes Green Living Science, ReStore Farmington, the Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County, the Dream Center of Pontiac, St. Christine’s Food Pantry and HarborChase of Auburn Hills.

The day begins with registration from 9-9:30 a.m. in South Foundation Hall’s Fishbowl Lounge.

After arriving at the designated site locations, the service projects will commence, wrapping up around 1 p.m.

Volunteers are responsible for transportation to their site and back home, with carpooling recommended. Lunch will be provided.

People will be allowed to register on the GrizzOrgs website up until the day of the event, but the sooner the better. Once they are signed up, volunteers will be emailed their site location within the next day. Those already registered will get priority when it comes to their site preferences.

All are welcome to participate, as organizers appreciate anyone’s help and support.

MLK Day of Service is an annual event that has been going on for a little over 10 years.

Hannah Clark, graduate assistant of Service Learning and Leadership at the Center for Student Activities and Leadership Development, planned this particular day from beginning to end.

“It’s a great way to see different nonprofits in our area,” Clark said. “You can better yourself by serving others, finding a new hobby or what you’re passionate about.”

Amy Joa, retention coordinator for the Center for Multicultural Initiatives, feels similarly, as people may learn about how they want to spend their free time in the future.

“In addition to gaining all the usual benefits of volunteering, students who participate with MLK Day of Service will get a chance to get to know/meet other folks on campus who also want to make a positive impact and difference in the lives of others,” she said via email.

The experience will also strengthen one’s résumé, and the CSA can be used as a reference. Volunteers will even score a free T-shirt.

It is one of many events held during OU’s African American Celebration Month. Stretching from Jan. 16 to Feb. 15, this month celebrates the various historical and cultural contributions that African Americans have made in the past, present and future, according the event’s webpage.

As a mmber of the African American Celebration Month Committee, Joa said this event captures one of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s goals.

“MLK Day of Service reflects Dr. King’s missions because bringing people together to serve their community is the essence of everything he stood for,” she said.

Clark said the celebration month’s committee has played a major role in the Day of Service and is glad to be in collaboration with the event.

Joa summarized the value of this opportunity:

“Events like MLK Day of Service are so important because it reminds our campus community — faculty, staff, students — that we’re a part of an even bigger off-campus community.”