Upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. day of service event aims ‘to create community and reflect on MLK’s vision’

By Scott Schmidt
The annual MLK day of service will be held at the Lasells Stewart Center Saturday, Jan. 18. This is one of many events celebrating the late King.

William Ross, News Contributor

With Martin Luther King Jr. Day upon the horizon, Oregon State University will host the day of service on Jan. 18 with the goal to honor and continue the work that civil rights activist King set out. 

This upcoming Saturday, OSU Community, Engagement and Leadership will host the 10th annual MLK Jr. Day of Service. This event aims to allow students to get off campus and into the community to give back.

The event will take part across the whole day. Volunteers will group up with an organization of their choice.

Volunteers and workers will meet and check-in at the Memorial Union Horizon Room before heading into the community. The CEL program specialist and OSU student Anabel Mendoza is helping with the preparation and running of the MLK Day of Service event. 

“The Day of Service consists of 17 different service projects. These vary tremendously, we will be partnering with Habitat for Humanity, Heartland Humane Society, Trillium Family Services and many others. Other organizations we will be partnering with include Global Community Kitchen and Produce for the People. The complete list can be found through registration,” Mendoza said. 

The MLK Day of Service event accommodates those who need assistance, Mendoza said. 

The CEL will team up with SafeHaven Humane Society and Meals on Wheels for Craft N’ Care. Craft N’ Care service projects allow those with less ability and those with families to still be able to contribute to their community in a safe and fun environment. Once signed up, these individuals will make toys for dogs and cats in shelters, according to Mendoza. 

The MLK Day of Service is great for anyone who just wants to get involved, according to OSU alumna Jessie Li, who will be attending this year’s Day of Service and has been part of the event for the previous three years.

“I’m the kind of person who was very shy and introverted, and when I started participating in these events, it really helped me not only to meet like-minded people, it just felt like we were building a sense of community,”  Li said. 

The goal for CEL is to make the MLK Jr. Day of Service all about building a sense of community for not only the students and volunteers but for those who will be representing the organizations as well.

Li said the CEL makes efforts during the service to bring as many community partners back for lunch. This allows the opportunity for relationships to build and stay maintained even after the event.

CEL employee and worker for the event, Nolan Gunter, has been a part of the MLK Day of Service since 2019. 

According to Gunter, the event will be a great way to learn more about the community. Not only will volunteers get to meet new people, they will also be able to feel rewarded for doing a day of service.

“There is another element that must be present in our struggle that then makes our resistance and nonviolence truly meaningful. That element is reconciliation. Our ultimate end must be the creation of the beloved community,” King said in his 1960 speech in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The vision to build a community by having better relations was a goal that could benefit humanity, according to King. 

With the day of service, CEL is providing the opportunity for people of all backgrounds to get out and serve the community.  

“Know that this is going to be a warm welcoming environment. We all are working towards the same goal, to create community and reflect on MLK’s vision,” Li said.

Mendoza said all of the events going on for the day of service will be available on the CEL website. Once registered, people will get to pick the organization they want to partner with for the event. CEL Days of Service welcomes OSU students, staff and faculty, as well as the Corvallis community to partake in making the community a better place, according to Mendoza. Some service projects may have age requirements.