ECU plans volunteer events, vigil to honor Martin Luther King Jr.
(Jan. 11, 2010)
As the nation honors the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 18, a group of East Carolina University students will be putting the civil rights leader’s words into action.
About 125 students are expected to participate 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.’”
This year’s 10 projects include 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 are expected to participate in the MLK Day of Service. ECU’s events are aided by a $500 grant from N.C. Campus Compact, a coalition of colleges that aims to increase student participation in community service.
The service events will begin 8 a.m. at the Willis Building, corner of 1st and Reade streets, with a volunteer breakfast and check in. Provost Marilyn Sheerer and Greenville Mayor Pat Dunn are expected to speak. Members of Alpha Phi Alpha, which was King’s fraternity, are slated to perform. Volunteers will then head to their service sites, where they will remain until the day wraps up at about 12:30 p.m.
A candlelight vigil, march and tribute, organized by Alpha Phi Alpha, are also planned to remember King. The vigil begins 5:30 p.m. at the top of College Hill. At 6 p.m., participants will march to Hendrix Theatre, where a presentation is planned. Dunn is the invited keynote speaker, and the ECU Gospel Choir and Black Student Union Ensemble Group are scheduled to perform.