700 volunteer on day of service

While Martin Luther King Jr. Day is day a off for students, more than 700 volunteers will be having a “day on.”

Those volunteers will be enjoying their day spread throughout 45 community partners in Northwest Ohio during this year’s MLK Day of Service, put on by the Office of

Service Learning.

“It’s the whole notion of, we are going to make this a day on and not a day off, because MLK never wanted a day off of school in his honor,” said senior civic action leader Emma Sales. “I think he would have liked to see people coming together for the greater good in his honor.”

These volunteers will be coming together to help the 45 partners. While that is less than last year’s amount, it was intentional, said assistant director of co-curricular activities at the Office of Service Learning

Jeremy Doughty.

“What we wanted to focus on this year was having sites that can host a larger number of volunteers,” he said. “If we have sites that can host five volunteers the transportation logistics get quite messy.”

Not only does it allow larger events, but it allows organizations to stick together for their service Sales said.

“It’s the one opportunity for students to have a service project created for them and they get to serve with whatever organization they signed up with,” she said.

The day will start with the opening ceremony where President Mary Ellen Mazey will speak along with a keynote speaker who will be given the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commitment to

Service Award.

“With this award we are trying to connect a leader in the BGSU community with Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy,” Doughty said.

When the opening ceremony comes to a conclusion the volunteers will get on busses or vans and head to their service event. The volunteers do not know where they will be going or what they will be doing until they arrive at their destination.

Once they arrive at their destination, they will be given what is called a challenge event, which is the service they will be responsible to complete.

“This underscores the importance of doing service regardless of who the partner is or what the service project is,” Doughty said. “Some might not know the needs of the volunteers in Northeast Ohio.”

Sales said that adds to the unique opportunity that this day

gives volunteers.

“It’s a unique opportunity to think of service in a different way,” she said. “What we are trying to do here is make it more fun and also it gives someone something tangible

to complete.”

This will be the eighth year of the MLK Day of Service, giving students a chance to give back together on a day when they wouldn’t normally have to.

“For us it is always going to be about MLK’s legacy and bringing people together in service,” Sales said. “Even things that may seem small to students mean a lot to

community partners.”