December 29, 2008

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By Julia Ferrante

LEWISBURG, Pa. Martin Luther King Jr. called upon the nation during the Civil Rights Movement to bring about change through action and good works rather than violence.

During the week of the national holiday to celebrate his legacy, more than 200 Bucknell University students, faculty and staff will bring that message to life, embarking on dozens of service projects in the local community.   

Bucknell's MLK Community Service Week will begin with a kickoff rally at 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18, at Davis Gym, where participants will receive marching orders for various community service projects. The tasks, ranging from after-school tutoring at Milton Middle School to playing board games and planting tulip bulbs with residents of the Riverwoods community in Lewisburg, must be completed by the end of the week.

Funding by grants
The effort is being funded in part by grants from the MLK Day of Service Organization and the Pennsylvania Campus Compact.

This is the first year the invitation was extended campus-wide, said Jessica Hess, director of Multicultural Student Services, who is organizing the event with the Office of Community Service. Volunteers from sports teams, fraternities and sororities, the Interfaith Service Team, the Toni Morrison Society and other groups have signed up. Volunteers must sign up before Jan. 6.

"We put a call out to the students, faculty and staff, and all kinds of organizations, groups, teams and individuals were interested in being partnered with community organizations," Hess said.

Community service
A recent community impact report showed that more than 75 percent of Bucknell students are involved in service to some degree, with at least 60 percent participating on a regular basis, said Poppy Goforth, director of community service. Bucknell students contributed more than $200,000 and 52,000 service hours to local, national and international organizations during the 2007-08 academic year.

Other events during MLK Community Service Week will include:

  • An Afro-Semitic Jazz Experience Ensemble performance at 7:30 p.m. on King's birthday, Monday, Jan. 19, in Bucknell Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
  • A "Beloved Dinner" to celebrate the idea of The Beloved Community proposed by King in the 1950s, is slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, at the Terrace Room in the Elaine Langone Center. Beverly Guy-Sheftall, founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College in Atlanta, will be the keynote speaker. Dinner tickets are available in the Elaine Langone Center mall beginning Jan. 12, or via e-mail at beginning Jan. 5. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children aged 7-12. This event is part of the University's celebration of 125 years of co-education.
  • A community service fair from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, in the Terrace Room.

The Community Service Week will close with a ceremony from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, in Larison Dining Hall. The event will include presentations by challenge participants as well as a performance by Blue Sky Mission Club, a band from Ithaca, N.Y., that blends rock, reggae, soul and blue grass.

Contact: Division of Communications