WSU prepares for a week of MLK Day service


Professor Aaron Oforlea receives an award during the 2012 Distinguished Service Awards at Washington State University, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 20, the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) and the MLK Day committee have paired up to organize a series of events open to all students.

Beginning with the CCE-hosted Day of Service on Monday, both the CCE and the MLK Day committee have given students the opportunity to pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. through a day devoted to serving the community.

“This works out really well for someone who would like to do service on that day, because there are no classes,” Erin McIlraith, communications and marketing coordinator for the CCE said.

McIlraith said the CCE has a variety of projects scheduled for MLK Day that students can sign up for on OrgSync. McIlraith said students will not have to worry about any transportation because the CCE will provide optional transportation for all scheduled activities.

Service opportunities include working with the Community Action Center, the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute, Orphan Acres, the White Spring Ranch, and afterschool care for children among other projects, McIlraith said.

In addition to the Day of Service, the CCE and MLK Day committee planned other events throughout the week and into the next week honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement as a whole.

Marc Robinson, director of Culture and Heritage Houses and member of the MLK Day committee, said the week of events honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement celebrates the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

“The whole purpose of it is really to mark the historical significance of this event, and encourage students on campus to learn about the history and reflect on how this impacts us today,” Robinson said.

Robinson said the keynote program of the week is the Community Celebration at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the CUB Senior Ballroom.

The Community Celebration will feature the MLK Distinguished Service Award presentations, a historical performance, a performance by WSU’s gospel choir “God’s Harmony,” and a lecture from Diane Nash, distinguished civil rights leader from the 1960s.

“We’re very excited to have her come to WSU,” Robinson said.

Robinson said Nash will mostly speak of her own life experiences during the civil rights movement, during which she was a college student.

“Her being a college student makes it very relatable to college students today and how they could have an impact like she did,” Robinson said.

A forum in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington will be held at 12 p.m. Thursday in Butch’s Den, and an MLK lecture event will be streamed online to WSU’s branch campuses and Global Learning students Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.

McIlraith said all of the events are a great way to show respect to Marin Luther King Jr.

“Even though it’s been 50 years since the March on Washington, his message is still relevant, and there’s a lot that can be done in his name and a lot that can be given back,” McIlraith said.