Monday was a day on, not a day off.
Participating in the MLK Day of Service, held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Bovee University Center, allowed Ashley Popp to make use of the time off she was given to honor King’s memory.
“It’s taking advantage of the opportunity and the time that is given to us,” the Bay City senior said. “I think it is very easy to say we don’t have the time, but we’re given this time to use to learn about veterans and the holocaust, to participate in the march. I enjoy that about this day.”
The MLK Day of Service, held annually by the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center, allows students an opportunity to get involved in a variety of service projects to better fulfill Martin Luther King’s vision.
Projects ranged from making valentines for veterans and constructing fleece blankets for foster children, to packing snack packs for students in elementary schools and constructing kits for Safer Sex Patrol.
Those who created valentines for veterans also heard a presentation by a volunteer group who traveled to Poland and Germany over the winter break to learn more about the holocaust as a part of Alternative Winter Breaks.
More than 260 people attended the service events this year – a notable increase over last year’s 150.
Stephanie Pocsi, a Sand Lake senior and employee at the Volunteer Center, said the presentation was a new addition to the Day of Service.
“Sometimes communities just need you to listen to their story,” Pocsi said. “Sometimes that is the best thing you can do for them.”
Jason Vasquez, a Wyoming graduate assistant at the Volunteer Center, said the event is about giving students the ability to do something for their community.
“One of Dr. King’s greatest quotes was ‘anyone can be great because anyone can serve,’” Vasquez said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, doesn’t matter what your sexual orientation is, your job, your education, anyone can be great because anyone can serve. What we want to do is to provide that opportunity.”
Petoskey freshman Spencer Goodrich said serving allows him to get away from himself.
“It allows you to get outside just thinking about your life and your future and go out there and think about other people’s futures and their lives,” Goodrich said.
Mount Pleasant senior Mike Hesche made valentines for veterans to serve those who serve the country.
“These people died for our country; this is something simple that can be done to help support people defending our country,” Hesche said. “Since I’m not serving, I think this is one of the cheapest, most Christian, humane thing anybody can do.”