A mild snow shower blanketed Marietta’s campus on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but that didn’t stop hundreds of students, faculty, staff and community members from making their way to the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center that morning ready to work, learn and commemorate the works of the late Rev. Dr. King during the College’s second annual MLK Jr. Day of Service.
“If it wasn’t for Martin Luther King Jr., I obviously wouldn’t be here today,” says Emileigh Mathis ’23, who is an African-American woman.
Rather than having traditional classes, the campus and community were invited to participate in a morning filled with service projects, student presentations and workshops geared at honoring Dr. King’s legacy. The event was coordinated by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion and the Office of Civic Engagement. Maribeth Saleem-Tanner, Director of Civic Engagement, says there were 525 participants registered for the day, including 420 students, 65 faculty and staff, and 40 community members, with an additional 10-plus community members volunteering at one of 12 off-campus service projects.
Women’s Rowing head coach Abby Klicker ’13, assistant coach Katy Ely and 10 rowers spent the morning at Gospel Mission Food Pantry. “We volunteered next door at the Boys & Girls Club over fall break and so we decided to help here for MLK Day of Service,” Klicker says.
Jeff Waite runs the food pantry with his wife, Candi, and says they serve between 300-500 people per week. A car accident, which seriously injured Candi last summer, threatened to close the community resource. “If it wasn’t for volunteers, we would have shut down,” Waite says. “The impact would have devastated the West Side. We hear from our elderly people that without us they don’t eat. That’s why I am so grateful to the College and these great volunteers. We absolutely appreciate what the College has done for us and for our community.”