MLK Day of Service planned to become largest service event in UH history
CORRECTION: the original article stated that Kaitlyn Palividas and Grace Schwarz were the co-chairs of the Bonner Leader Program. That is incorrect; they are co-chairs of the MLK Day of Service.
This year, UH will host its second annual Martin Luther King Day Day of Service on Jan. 24. Looking to emulate the teachings of service to all that King dedicated his life to, the University is looking to make this year’s event the largest in campus history.
“The combined efforts of multiple departments and student organizations will help to achieve the goal of making this years’ Day of Service the largest and most successful service event in campus history,” said Kaitlyn Palividas, broadcast journalism sophomore and student co-chair of the MLK Day of Service.
“Sponsoring organizations include the Bonner Leader Program, the Honors College, Baptist Student Ministries, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Center for Student Involvement, Metropolitan Volunteer Program (and the) Office of Governmental and Community Relations.”
With a much larger pool of community organizations partnering with UH and the use of social media – there’s even a Facebook page for information about the Day of Service – the University’s goal may very well be achieved. On the event’s Facebook page, about 1,300 people have been invited, and the number of those saying yes to participating has grown daily.
“The community is vital to the University, and this is a simple way for students to give back,” Palividas said.
When Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was first observed in 1986, three years after former president President Ronald Reagan signed it in law, citizens around the country searched for ways to commemorate King’s dedication to service. Former Pa. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis started the National Martin Luther King Day of Service, federal legislation that is meant to push Americans to turn the holiday into a day of action. Others followed the challenge, and college students were a part of a large population of those spending a day to help others.
“Volunteers can look forward to packaging food for the elderly, beautifying empty lots, painting community meeting spaces and making valentine’s cards for veterans among other things,” said fellow student co-chair of the MLK Day of Service and biotechnology sophomore Grace Schwarz.
“Volunteers will get a different perspective on, and become more aware of, the disparities in our community. My hope is that volunteers come back understanding how much need there is just a block from the university and be excited to help those who need it.”
The volunteer day offers a morning and afternoon shift, though participants are encouraged to participate in both. The day begins at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast and welcome remarks. Volunteers will then be shuttled to various organizations to assist in community-led projects. A lunch will follow for the volunteers at the Student Center ballroom at noon, and the afternoon shift will begin at 1 p.m. While the event is being hosted at UH, family, friends and anyone in the Houston community willing to serve is encouraged to participate.
Volunteers are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing for the various tasks, and meals and T-shirts will be provided. Students will receive a certificate at the end of their shift noting their participation.
For more information including registering with the Food Bank, visit uh.edu/mlk.