MLK Day of Service was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 21st, from 1:00-6:00 PM to honor the historic civil rights activist. The event had a high turnout; 257 individuals showed up to volunteer their time, which was nearly twice as many as last year. Groups of students travelled to eleven different sites within the Phelps County area for various projects while others stayed on campus to complete other activities. The on-campus crafts included the creation of 102 Valentine’s Day cards to be distributed to the elderly in assisted living facilities, 140 decorated rocks with words of encouragement for women and children facing family violence at Russell House, and 270 cookies that were given to 167 emergency responders to thank them for the safety they provide to the community.
Abdullah Felemban, a senior in Petroleum Engineering, was the leader of a group that visited Greentree Learning Center, a daycare in Rolla with over 300 children receiving care each week. Felemban became a site leader to further his leadership experience in volunteer groups before leading a Miner Challenge trip over spring break. He enjoyed the day of service because it meant “meeting new friends while working on
a great cause.” As their task, the group of eleven spent their time sanitizing and organizing toys at the daycare center.
Another group of students visited The Community Partnership, a non-profit organization located in Rolla that serves children and families through an emphasis on foster care, pregnant and parenting youth, childhood disability, and early education. At this location, volunteers sorted through old clothes and donated the items which were sufficiently aged to be shredded and sold. Ravi Shastri, a sophomore majoring in physics, was part of this group. Shastri said the most satisfying part of the event was “seeing how clean the room looked after we were done with it.” The previous year, the old shredded clothes were sold for $5,000.
At the end of the day, volunteers were invited back to Havener to have a celebratory dinner and given an opportunity to reflect on the impact that the total 835 hours of service had on Rolla and the surrounding areas. The most important takeaway of the day was to continuously honor MLK’s legacy by crusading for the principles that he promoted and ultimately to which he dedicated his life.
Student Involvement offers many options for students to volunteer their time. There is the Second Saturday Service program that will take place on February 9th and April 13th, which entails 4 hours of service benefitting the Phelps County area. Additionally, there will be an alternative weekend break this semester where a small
group of students will be visiting St. Louis to learn about social issues in the area while partnering with two community organizations and a corporation that recruits from S&T. Finally, Gonzo Gives Back Day of Service will take place on March 14th. More information can be found at involvement.mst.edu and the events can be registered for through OrgSync.