‘Do small things in a great way’

“Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service.”— a saying attributed to civil rights leader and activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Congress recognizes Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a way to pay tribute to King.

People are encouraged to not only take the day off, but to come together and engage in service as King had promoted.

Ben Calabretta, assistant director of the Center for Civic Engagement, said that through on- and off-campus events, students can perform the type of service that King spoke about.

“MLK Day of Service is making a connection to Dr. King and what he stood for,” said Calabretta. King did not just stand for racial issues, he said, but service as well.

The Center of Civic Engagement will provide opportunities for students to get involved through one-time service projects.

“This year, we are trying something new,” Calabretta said.

On Monday, 40 students and faculty members will take a bus to Spokane for the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March.

During the Unity March, volunteers will spend the first half of the day marching and the second half of the day completing service work at the East Central Community Center.

Calabretta said he expects the event to be a success. All of the seats on the bus to Spokane have now been filled by event participants.

Students and faculty can also get involved in service work through CougSync. The site allows users to search for projects and service partners in the area.

White Spring Ranch Museum in Genesee, Idaho, is hosting one of the service projects offered through the MLK Program.

White Spring Ranch is dedicated to preserving artifacts collected and saved by the Lorang family for over 130 years. The farmhouse is filled with letters, magazines and books. Volunteers will spend MLK Day archiving and sorting through newspapers from the Jim Crow era.

“We’ve done this specifically for MLK for two years now,” said Diane Conroy, whose grandfather was raised on the ranch.

The Martin Luther King Program began in October and events will span through April with various activities, guest speakers and films.

“The idea to start out early in the year came out of our committee meetings,” said Marc Robinson, director of culture and heritage houses. “With just a one-day event, some students may not be able to attend.”

Robinson said he hopes that the series of events will continue to increase the impact of King’s legacy.

“It encourages thought about where our nation has been and where it will go,” Robinson said.

One of the featured events is a photography exhibit showcasing photos of King and Rosa Parks from the Corbis Collection and the Vivian Maier Collection. The exhibit is open to students and the public in the Museum of Art Gallery through April 3.

Angela Y. Davis, 1970’s activist and public speaker, will be the featured guest speaker at the MLK Community Celebration on Jan. 22. She will discuss King’s impactful influence, as well as the current criminal justice system.

There will also be an awards presentation where WSU students’ work will be shown.

For more information about MLK Program events, visit mlk.wsu.edu.