MLK Day of Service provides volunteer opportunities for community

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Washington D.C. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressing the crowds surrounding Lincoln Memorial during the 1963 March on Washington.

Payton Bucki, Campus Reporter

In light of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service, the Oakland University Office for Student Involvement (OSI) and Leadership and Volunteer Center (LVC) hosted a full-day service event. 

The MLK Day of Service was held in the Oakland Center Gold Rooms on Jan. 18 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with a goal to give back to local communities by providing students with service opportunities and connecting to MLK’s passion to help others.

OSI representatives Daryl Blackburn and Brittany Golston welcomed students to the event. The pair swiped the GrizzIDs of each attendee to track participation and handed out a variety of community involvement resources and free African-American Appreciation Month stickers.

Upon entering the MLK Day of Service venue, students were able to choose from an array of service opportunities. Some projects included creating blankets, decorating literacy bookmarks and crafting Valentine’s Day cards.

One unique project was the DIY dog toy table, where the OSI provided gently-used garments — collected from students and staff — and directions for weaving durable toys. The completed toys will be given to local animal shelters and leader dogs.

Student organizations were given the opportunity to sponsor a table, providing materials for a project to donate to the charitable organization of their choice. One such sponsoring organization was Project Big Sister (PBS), a group that seeks to advance young women professionally and personally through critical mentoring, support and sisterly counsel. 

“When we realized how simple it was to sponsor a table, we decided ‘why not?’” PBS member Tamia Smith said.

PBS decided to sponsor a Valentine’s Day card creation table. The completed cards will be given to nursing home residents in the local community.

Another group that decided to sponsor a table was the Residence Life Association (RLA). By using excess materials from previous RLA events, the department created a “message in a bottle” project. 

For this activity, students were asked to write kind messages and place their notes inside tiny glass bottles. The completed bottles will be handed out to on-campus workers in order to spread kindness and positivity throughout the OU community.

The Student Program Board (SPB) made a surprise appearance at MLK Day of Service for their weekly Hump Day event. SPB representatives provided event attendees with a free lunch of bosco sticks, mashed potatoes, green beans and cookies.

“We were proud to provide free food and treats to individuals serving the community,” SPB Treasurer Cameron Roach said.

In addition to the interactive projects, the OSI hosted a canned food and toiletry drive throughout the duration of the event. The non-perishable food and hygiene items will be donated to the Golden Grizzlies Food Pantry, which offers the goods to students in need free-of-charge.