University of New Orleans students, and their counterparts from Tulane, Dillard and Loyola universities, are banding together Monday for a day of community service in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The federal holiday is set aside in honor of King, the slain civil rights activist and Baptist minister, who sacrificed personal comforts in his efforts to change our nation’s social ills of segregation and other forms of codified racism.
In collaborating with each other and with community groups, the students seek to answer one of King’s many provocative questions, said LeeAnne Sipe, director of the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership.
“Dr. King said, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Sipe said. “Our goal is to respond to this question by giving back to the community that each of our institutions is a part of.”
Each year approximately 500 to 600 volunteers take on projects around New Orleans starting at 9 a.m., said Sipe. UNO is the host site this year and volunteers will gather on campus before they are transported to their project area.
The Day of Service was started in 1987 and grew out of an initiative at Tulane University. It is one of the largest annual one-day service events that brings New Orleans college students, faculty, staff, alumni and families together to “spend a day on instead of taking the day off.”
“We will be at 20 volunteer sites throughout the city on Monday morning, participating in a variety of projects from organizing Mardi Gras beads with ARC GNO, clearing storm drains with neighborhood associations, and working with children and families through community outreach projects, among others,” Sipe said.
Volunteers will be treated to a free lunch of red beans and rice and jambalaya (with vegan versions) courtesy of UNOeats dining services. Sodexo has donated bottled water and whole fruits for students to snack on, Sipe said.
For more information about the Day of Service or to register to volunteer click here.
Volunteers also can arrive at the University of New Orleans’ University Center at 8 a.m. on Monday for onsite registration.