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Content Any Way U Want It!

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Content Any Way U Want It!

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September 21, 2023

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MLK Day offers multiple opportunities for volunteers

For many students, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a Monday free of classes.

For others, it’s one of the best days of the year.

“It’s like our Christmas almost, because it’s so big,” said Alan Watson, a senior serving with Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity.

Watson said the day of service has been bigger and better each of the four years he has served.

“I’m sad this is my last year,” Watson said.

820 students chose to participate this year, putting in 2,775 service hours.

This is the sixth year the Office of Service Learning and Civic Action Now, a student organization, have come together to organize the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Challenge. Students work in teams to complete community service projects in Bowling Green, Toledo and the surrounding area.

“We had a few more students than we thought we were going to have,” said Tracy Knappins, service center director for Salvation Army of Wood County.

About 35 students helped to repaint the Salvation Army Service Center. Knappins had expected 20 students.

“We’re trying to update our space and make it more efficient,” Knappins said.

Across town, volunteers at United Way Wood County were removing old furniture in preparation for moving to a new office. Some of this furniture was donated to the Salvation Army.

Watson and other members of Alpha Phi Omega helped to build a boardwalk for the Wood County Park District.

“I love challenging myself,” Watson said.

He wouldn’t have chosen to work on a boardwalk, but enjoyed the chance to get out of his comfort zone, he said.

Volunteers did not find out where they would be serving until Monday morning. Some enjoyed the surprise.

“That’s the best part,” said Jessica Ricker, a sophomore participating for the second year.

Senior Wade Rhoades said the element of surprise has pros and cons. There are no preconceived notions, he said, but not having information in advance makes it difficult to prepare for the day.

Students spoke of the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community.

“I think service is really integral to your college experience,” said Kasie Durkit, a junior volunteering at United Way.

Junior Lauren Brunswick described volunteering as “how we give back to others and how we support the community that we live in.”

Others spoke of following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s example.

“I respect and admire Martin Luther King, Jr. a lot and I like to take on leadership roles on campus,” Ricker said.

For some, the day was a family affair. University Equity and Diversity Officer Vicky Kulicke brought her children with her for the second year in a row.

“My children and I came last year and we made blankets last year,” Kulicke said.

Kulicke represented the Not In Our Town campaign; distributing information and signing people up to receive updates.

“Their mission is very congruent to the mission of the day and the event,” said Maddi Georgoff, a Civic Action Leader in the Office of Service Learning.

Students served at 53 locations, including 13 in Bowling Green.

“I love the fact that we have a day where any student can volunteer,” Georgoff said. “A lot of people have conflicting schedules … but this is a day when you can choose to actually do community service instead of sleeping in.”

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