On Monday, January 19, Marian University students, faculty, and staff honored Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of service. Students volunteered at school sites including Riverside Elementary School 44, James Whitcomb Riley School 43, SENSE Charter School, and Cold Spring Academy. Tasks included cleaning out supply rooms, closets, creating bulletin boards, and organizing on-site food pantries. School supplies were donated to each school and Marian University students also attached pencils to cards with encouraging messages for teachers to hand out to students.
“Because Dr. King’s vision incorporated the importance of education for all, we spent this day focusing on schools in the Indianapolis area,” Said Jennifer Plumlee, director of academic engagement.
The day began in Alumni Hall with three speakers who told stories about their ties to education, community, and working for social justice.
LaNier Echols, dean of students at Carpe Diem Meridian Campus and member of the inaugural cohort of the Marian University Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership, spoke about the importance of equipping our students with the skills necessary for them to be productive citizens and the knowledge they need to pursue their aspirations.
LaShawnda Crowe Storm, community builder for the Northwest area Quality of Life Plan, encouraged students to find their passion and work towards peace and justice in the world as MLK Jr. did.
Student Melinda Weiss ’15, double major in Spanish and secondary education, spoke about her experience working at “Grade F” schools in the Indianapolis Public School District and the profound impact her students have had on her.
“I am grateful for the ways these different staff members representing various departments, worked together to serve the community and to gather over 80 students for education, service, and reflection,” said Jeanne Grammens Hidalgo, campus minister of service and social justice.
We keep in mind Dr. King’s values as we stay committed to our Franciscan sponsorship values of dignity of the individual, peace and justice, reconciliation, and responsible stewardship.
Students were offered the opportunity to fill out volunteer applications and return to the schools they visited either as mentors or tutors. Following the day of service, students returned to campus for reflection and dinner.
Many hours of planning and reflection were put in by the planning committee made up of students Christopher Anderson and Marah Leonfils as well as staff members Ben Braksick, director of student activities and orientation, Tonya Hall, director of 21st Century Scholars, Plumlee and Hidalgo, who worked for months to make this event happen.