On day off, some students take a ‘day on’ to help others in the community in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.

Kate Snyder and Kate Snyder

Instead of taking Martin Luther King Jr. Day off, some people used their free time to volunteer in the community.

The Office of Service Learning on campus organized different projects for eight different groups of volunteers to complete throughout the day. Each group was responsible for one project that was kept secret until the event began.

Group 7’s assignment was to clean the Wood County Historical Museum.

“The basement was pretty intense in dirtiness,” sophomore Mike Judge said.

But some members of the group also thought it was interesting seeing all the different artifacts.

Sophomore Karina Higginbotham said she enjoyed looking through closets and discovering old yearbooks.

Their group was exclusively University students, but most came from different campus organizations.

Most of them chose to volunteer to represent their organization, but that wasn’t the only reason.

“To help the community,” Judge said. “That’s why we did it.”

The goal of all the groups was to help the community as well as staying in their allotted budget.

Group 7 used their budget on cleaning supplies from Meijer, and whatever was leftover was spent on food they donated back to the community.

The budgets were provided by the Office of Service Learning, and all groups received between $50 and $100, depending on the scale of their respective project.

Lesa Shouse, the coordinator of the event, said the money originally came from a grant from the state.

Other participants spent their day painting or moving furniture.

Group 3 worked in the University’s Women’s Center. In the Center, people build wooden silhouettes representing women affected by domestic violence.

Group 3 built rolling containers to help move the silhouettes to different locations so the Center can teach others about domestic violence.

“I got a lot more accomplished today than if I had taken the day off,” freshman Shannon Giesige said.

Group 3 consisted of students and members of the University faculty and staff.

“It felt good to be a part of something bigger than me,” said Michelle Simmons, a staff member in the Career Center.

Jane Rosser, the director of service learning, was another member of Group 3.

“I hope [the event] becomes a BG tradition,” she said.

This year was the first year for the MLK volunteer event.

It was held yesterday because the money the office received was supposed to be used for MLK-related activities, but the day is also a day for community service.

“It’s a day to encourage people to give back to the community,” Shouse said.

Recent graduate Patrick Grayshaw, another coordinator of the event, said it was great to see the amount of involvement.

“Students can very easily just get trapped on campus,” he said.

He also said it was good seeing students work with faculty and staff on equal levels.

But no matter what group they were in or who they worked with, most participants were happy to help their community.

“We’re really affecting so many people’s lives by just taking five or six hours out of our schedule,” said Jessica Kroetz, a graduate student and team leader for Group 8, “even if we’re just doing little things like collecting a box of macaroni.”

ONGOING MLK EVENTS:

Jan. 16 – Feb. 27 The Talented Tenth Display First Floor Jerome Library Lobby

Jan. 20 Presidential Inauguration Viewing Union 202, Lenhart Grand Ballroom Live-stream viewing of the inauguration events will begin at 10 a.m.

Jan. 21 Readings in Diversity Union 207, Mylander Room, 9:30 – 11 a.m.

Civil Rights in America: Visions of Change Union 206, Theater, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

Jan. 28 Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner The SunDial, 4:30 – 8 p.m.