It may have been a day off from classes, but several hundred Lawrence University students, staff and faculty put Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy into practice in the Fox Valley community.
From helping build hoop houses for an area community garden, baking treats for the local warming shelter, knitting scarves for the homeless and leading area students in after-school art, dance, music and sports activities, Lawrence volunteers registered to provide 587 hours of service on the holiday honoring Dr. King (1/20).
In all, Lawrence partnered with 10 local organizations for a day of community engagement: the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley, Brewster Village, Riverview Gardens, Bethesda Thrift Shop, Fox Valley Warming Shelter, Fox Valley Humane Society, CHAPS Academy Creative Counseling programs, National Alliance on Mental Illness, SLUG and Glamour Gals.
“Our community partners provide an opportunity for Lawrence students to learn beyond the classroom, to gain a new perspective and to further explore their own beliefs,” said Kristi Hill, Lawrence’s director of volunteer and community service programs. “This year’s ‘What do you believe’ theme encouraged students to first explore their beliefs with a book discussion and then encouraged students to put those beliefs into action through service opportunities available both on and off campus.
“Lawrentians showed strong interest with 378 people registering for at least one opportunity,” Hill added. “This day would not be possible without our community partners and we appreciate their collaboration to help us all honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
AboutLawrenceUniversity Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.
Dorothy Cotton, the only female member of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s, executive staff and one of his closest confidants, delivers the keynote address at the 21st annual community celebration of the late civil rights leader Monday, Jan. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.
With the theme “Martin Luther King Jr.: This Life and Legacy,” the celebration is presented by Lawrence University and Toward Community: Unity in Diversity with the support of numerous Fox Valley organizations, churches and individuals. The Post-Crescent is a media partner for the event.
The community celebration is in conjunction with Lawrence’s annual Martin Luther King “Day of Service,” which offers volunteer opportunities for students, faculty and staff. Part of this year’s activities includes a report on the recent “Life Study of the Fox Cities” at 11:30 a.m. in the Warch Campus Center.
“Everyone wants to leave his or her own mark on the world as we strive to live a meaningful and purposeful life,” said Pa Lee Moua, assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs at Lawrence. “Once we are gone, we hope to be remembered as heroes. In my opinion, there is no greater hero than someone who fights for the rights of others. Martin Luther King Jr. is truly a hero who continues to teach us the true meaning of love, peace and social justice.
Moua credits her father for instilling in her many of the values embraced by Dr. King.
“As a very influential man in my life, my father told me, ‘Respect and reputation doesn’t come from being too rich, educated, or powerful; it comes from being a humanitarian. You will never regret giving your time to someone in need. And as you grow older, you will look back and forever cherish these experiences because you will have already made your mark on the world.’”
Cotton began making her mark in the early 1960s as the education director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, where she provided training for the disenfranchised on the importance of political participation, voter registration and nonviolent protest. In 1964, she accompanied King to Oslo, Norway, where he was presented the Nobel Peace Prize. Following King’s assassination, she served as the vice president for field operations for the Dr. M.L.K. Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta and became Southern Regional Director for ACTION, the federal agency for volunteer programs.
A native of North Carolina, Cotton has addressed issues of race relations, multiculturalism/diversity, personal development and nonviolence education around the world. Following more than 20 years engaged in civil rights activities, Cotton spent 10 years as director of student activities at Cornell University. She also is one of the founding members of the National Citizenship School, which focuses creating publicly accountable institutions that reflect high democratic ideals and support individual capacity to live a meaningful life.
“Having Ms. Cotton as our keynote speaker is a rare and rich opportunity for the Fox Valley,” said Kathy Flores, chair of the MLK Planning Committee and diversity coordinator for the city of Appleton. “While many people participated in marches during the Civil Rights era, Ms. Cotton had the honor of working side-by-side with Dr. King as a member of his staff. We hope many members of the community take advantage of her appearance and come hear her share her real-life experiences with us.”
In addition to Cotton’s remarks, the King celebration will feature the presentation of the annual Jane LaChapelle McCarty Unity in Diversity Award. Given by Toward Community, the award honors an area individual who has made great strides in bringing different people in the community together.
The celebration also features readings by area student winners of the annual Martin Luther King essay contest and musical performances led by Tim and Ezra Dorsey and 2008 Lawrence graduate Erica Hamilton.
A sign language interpreter will be present for the program and a reception for all in attendance follows the event.
More than 100 Lawrence University students are expected to take advantage of a day free of classes by participating in various community projects Monday, Jan. 18 as part of 2010’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
Coordinated by Lawrence’s Volunteer and Community Service Center (VCSC), students will volunteer several hours of their time Monday (12:30-3:30 p.m.) with nearly a dozen different programs and agencies in the Fox Cities.
Some of the volunteer projects include working with Rebuilding Together Fox Valley to paint and clean at Holy Spirit School in Kimberly, helping prepare a meal at the Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley and assisting the Appleton Housing Authority renovate a duplex.
As many as 30 students will be involved in a diversity activity with students at Appleton’s Richmond Elementary School.
Kristi Hill, Lawrence’s coordinator of internships and volunteer programs said it takes dedicated student leaders and collaborative community agencies to make the MLK Day of Service possible.
“This year we have created strong relationships with 12 community agencies that are hosting a Lawrence AmeriCorps member serving in a volunteer liaison capacity,” said Hill. “This partnership has resulted in some well-planned community projects. Both the Lawrence Volunteer and Community Service Center and the Day of Service are entirely student-led, which speaks volumes of the passion our students have for the Fox Valley community.”
Sophomore Brenda Zuleger, the VCSC’s events coordinator, said the MLK Day of Service “provides a great opportunity for both Lawrence students and the Appleton community to connect and serve the needs of others.”
“Lawrence students learn a little bit more about the service organizations throughout Appleton on their day off from classes while making a difference in someone else’s life. That is truly a phenomenal feeling.”
The Day of Service also includes a volunteer fair coordinated by the VCSC from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center featuring representatives from 40 area agencies and several Lawrence student organizations with a service focus.
A presentation on VCSC summer volunteer opportunity grants will be conducted in the Warch Center’s Kraemer Conference Room from 4-5 p.m. Lawrence seniors J.B. Sivanich, who taught English to academically talented children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds in Bangalore, India; Rebecca Bohl, who served as an intern for the Guatemala Human Rights Commission in Washington D.C.; Sylvie Armstrong, who worked as a dog adoption coordinator for Saving Paws Animal Rescue near Appleton; and Zachary Becker, who worked on the Ramchander Nath Foundation’s prisoner art project in New Delhi, India, will discuss their experiences as 2009 summer volunteer opportunity grant recipients.
The day’s events conclude with the 19th annual community-wide Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel at 6:30 p.m. Rev. Wanda Washington, pastor of Grace United Church of Christ in Milwaukee, will serve as the celebration’s keynote speaker.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service was founded in 1994 to transform the federal holiday honoring King into a national day of community service grounded in the civil rights leader’s teachings of nonviolence and social justice.