MLK Day of Service gives students a chance to give back

Published 11:17 am Thursday, February 10, 2022

Students interested in connecting with the community while spending a morning giving back have an opportunity next weekend with the University of Mississippi’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

The day of service, originally scheduled for the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was postponed because of a spike in COVID-19 cases locally and is set for Feb. 19. Registration will remain open until 11:59 p.m. Feb. 13, or until all the volunteer slots are filled.

This year’s event will see volunteers working in the Oxford Community Garden, picking up roadside litter, cleaning up parks, working on the Camp Lake Stephens campus, writing notes to hospice workers, assembling Jumpstart literacy packs and participating in a voter registration drive.

I think it’s easy to be in a bubble on campus – because there is so much activity and so much going on – that sometimes we forget we’re a part of the bigger Oxford community and Lafayette County community, and that’s important too,” said Avery McNeece, Ole Miss assistant director for community partnerships.

“Volunteering can enrich a student’s experiences while they’re here. They have an opportunity to step out and be around people from different life experiences or age groups or backgrounds. There are lots of places where learning happens, and this is one of them.”

The day of service will begin with a welcome from Janice Carr, community service advocate and director of the Gordon Community and Cultural Center in Abbeville. From there, volunteers will go to their worksites from around 10 a.m. to noon.

Afterward, each group will participate in a reflection activity before being dismissed.

When Katlyn Tidwell, a graduate assistant and organizer for the event, thinks of community service, she is reminded of King’s quote, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”

“King had a vision for a great community, and no matter what path you are on in life, you can get together as equals and give back,” Tidwell said. “Giving back to the community that I have called home for the past four years is very rewarding to me.

“Engaging in community service allows me to connect with the residents of the LOU community on a personal level, and provides me with the opportunity to leave a positive mark as well.”

The day of service is open to all members of the Lafayette, Oxford and UM community. Anyone interested can register at the event’s GivePulse page through Sunday.