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Volunteering for MLK Day

January 27, 2014

“Rise up. Restore. Reclaim.”

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This past weekend, not only did we see Seattle turn blue and green with all the crazy excitement from the NFC Championships, but the following day continued with positive energy as it was MLK Day! Some students saw this as a day of relaxation (and possible recovery) after the game, but others saw this as an opportunity to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy by volunteering their time to serve the community. It was a day on, rather than a day off.

Starting in the early morning, highly caffeinated students and community leaders gathered in the Ethnic Cultural Center to kick off the volunteering festivities. Enjoying some light pastries, coffee and free T-shirts, the group was fortunate to have speakers from around campus and the community to speak about the impact of MLK, his legacy, and the importance of community service. One of the most striking moments for me was when one of the speakers quoted Elie Weisel exclaiming, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” He then added on to say that the opposite of justice is not injustice but rather indifference. This really rang some bells with me. To be an active participant in making a difference, I needed to continually strive to work for it, and never turn a blind eye. Doing nothing whilst still witnessing injustice means I’m just an idle bystander participating in continuing the injustice. With one day, and as cheesy as it sounds, I felt more motivated than I had in a very long time to really make a difference in my community and on the UW campus. This wasn’t my first volunteering experience ever, but this felt different from any other I’d been a part of. This is one amongst many more days of volunteering and service that I will have, and I hope that you will join the party.

Prior to MLK day, the Carlson Center promoted for weeks to individually register for a service project. Bring a buddy, or even a whole group of friends to join in on the fun!

KhSA, Khmer Student Association, had the opportunity to volunteer in the Fremont area to make disaster kits that would be sent to the Philippines and to pick up trash around the area. Here’s some of the adventures!

Members of KhSA packing the kits in boxes to be delivered to the Philippines.

Members of KhSA packing the kits in boxes to be delivered to the Philippines.

Elizabeth Pring, officer, packing the materials in the kit.

Elizabeth Pring, officer, packing the materials in the kit. Kits were filled with soap, nail clippers, towels, washcloths, toothbrush, other hygiene items.

ly picking up trash

Ly Nguyen, officer, picking up trash.

Laughing and chatting while bags were being filled with trash.

Laughing and chatting while bags were being filled with trash.

May have missed volunteering on MLK day? Don’t fret! There are still opportunities all over campus that can connect you to some really great opportunities to make a difference.

Easy ways to get involved in your community through the UW Campus

  1. Check out the Carlson Center website here (http://www.washington.edu/carlson/)
  2. Sign up through the Center for Experiential Learning (http://expd.washington.edu/pipeline)
  3. Dream project http://www.washington.edu/dreamproject/
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