Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
at University of Puget Sound
By the Rev. David Wright
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
On January 21, 2013, University of Puget Sound students, staff and faculty rolled up their sleeves and honored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by turning their holiday into a day of service. With coordination provided by the Office of Spirituality, Service, & Social Justice, over 400 members of the Puget Sound community volunteered at 14 different service sites across the breadth of Tacoma, Wash. The service projects addressed a variety of needs within Pierce County and took place throughout the entire day.
In the morning, individuals built bookshelves for New Phoebe House; painted a new house in the Hilltop neighborhood with Habitat for Humanity; teamed up with Washington Conservation Corps for a shoreline cleanup; and played icebreakers with senior citizens at Franke Tobey Jones – an independent/assisted living community.
In the afternoon, folks from the Puget Sound Area prepared and cooked dinner at Tacoma Rescue Mission; prepped a greenhouse at L’Arche Farm and Gardens; and planted trees at Puget Park with Puget Creek Restoration Society.
Other service projects helped to address food access, environmental stewardship, services for individuals living with HIV/AIDS and urban agriculture within the Tacoma community. The Day of Service was also incorporated into the day-long Spring Orientation program for our small group of mid-year freshmen and transfer students. These new students along with many Puget Sound community groups including Greek Life, Student Senate, Multicultural Student Services, LEAD sophomore leadership cohort, Lighthouse, the UPS Football team and the Kayak Club, as well as a handful of students and staff from University of Washington Tacoma all participated.
At the end of the day, Puget Sound students came together for a “soup with substance” reflection in Rasmussen Rotunda. While exchanging stories about the day’s events, they drew connections between Martin Luther King’s words and their own individual ethics of service. Two students, Kara Klepinger and Santiago Rodriguez, shared short reflections on the importance of volunteering in their personal lives and urged their fellow students to increase their involvement in the local Tacoma community.
After being mostly snowed out in 2012, this year’s MLK Day of Service returned with our largest turnout ever. Alongside programs like Alternative Breaks, Backpacks of Hope, Food Salvage, and the great work of the Community Involvement and Action Center, these are all ways in which Loggers give back to the community they call home for their college years. Plus, these programs are all connected to the extension of the ministry of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference – beyond the local church through the support of the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry as well as the Office of Spirituality, Service & Social Justice at the University of Puget Sound!
David Wright serves as the University Chaplain and Director for Spirituality & Justice
at the University of Puget Sound.
Citizen King (D4149)
Let Us Love One Another (D1020)
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