A total of 62 students, faculty and staff turned out for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at Mars Hill College Saturday, making it one of the largest voluntary service events at the college in recent memory.
Although January 18 was celebrated nationwide as the official holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., Mars Hill College chose to hold its Day of Service on Saturday, January 23. This scheduling made it easier for students and faculty to participate without missing classes.
According to Dallas Thompson, Mars Hill’s North Carolina Campus Compact AmeriCorps*VISTA Worker, the observation of the Mars Hill College – MLK Day of Service was a collaboration of the college’s Social Work Club, Black Student Association and Lifeworks, a department which emphasizes learning through service, internships and work study. The group focused its efforts in four local organizations which help children and families in Madison and North Buncombe counties: My Sister’s Place, Manna Food Bank, Mountin’ Hopes, and Mars Hill Elementary School. Thompson said participants did everything from sorting food and clothes and general cleaning, to tearing down an old barbed wire fence that was blocking a riding trail at Mountin’ Hopes.
Thompson credited the success of the event, in part, to Mars Hill College’s ongoing commitment to service as an expression of ethical education. This year’s event also built on the momentum generated by last year’s MLK Day of Service, which drew almost 30 participants, she said.
Thompson said: “Mars Hill College has always had a deep commitment to serving Madison County and beyond. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. personified service to others and striving for a better world. Together, the two are a perfect combination. The MLK Day of Service is a great way for our institution to both commemorate Dr. King and continue to carry out our mission.”
In addition to service projects, participants shared a reflection on the life of Dr. King during lunch. The MLK Day of Service at Mars Hill was funded by a grant from the North Carolina Campus Compact and by additional grant monies from the Ford Foundation.
Mars Hill College is a private, four-year liberal arts institution. Founded in 1856 by Baptist families of the region, the campus is located just 20 minutes north of Asheville in the mountains of western North Carolina.www.mhc.edu 1-866-MHC-4-YOU.