ECU News Services


Left to right, ECU volunteers Johnnetta Battle-Harris, Alicia Burden and Caitlin Gold do yard work for Operation Sunshine as part of the 2010 MLK Day Challenge. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Volunteer Events, Vigil Honor Martin Luther King Jr.

As the nation honored the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 18, a group of East Carolina University students put the civil rights leader’s words into action.

About 125 students participated in the 2010 MLK Day Challenge. The seventh annual event, organized by ECU’s Volunteer and Service-Learning Center, matches students up with nonprofit organizations for a variety of projects.  

“King was all about serving the community and knowing your neighbor,” said Shawn Moore, ECU’s community partner coordinator. “He wrote, ‘Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.’”

The Black Student Union Ensemble performs during an ECU ceremony honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This year’s 10 projects included putting up a fence at C.M. Eppes Middle School, assisting Spring Arbor with its seasonal cleaning, exercising shelter cats and dogs at the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina, and preparing care packages for U.S. troops overseas.

“This is a really great way to introduce students to the community and to community service,” Moore said. 
Nationwide, more than 16,000 students were expected to participate in the MLK Day of Service. ECU’s events were aided by a $500 grant from N.C. Campus Compact, a coalition of colleges that aims to increase student participation in community service.   

A candlelight vigil, march and tribute, organized by Alpha Phi Alpha, was also held to remember King. Participants marched from the top of College Hill to Hendrix Theatre, where a presentation was held. Greenville Mayor Pat Dunn was the invited keynote speaker, and the ECU Gospel Choir and Black Student Union Ensemble Group performed.

For video of the MLK Day Challenge, visit

This story appeared originally in the Jan. 29, 2010 issue of Pieces of Eight. An archived version of that issue is available at