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A Day of Service: How 10 Students Celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” 

-  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

By Sissy Phillips

Adrian, Michigan – Ten Siena Heights University (SHU) students took time out of their day on January 16 to complete a service project. While students at SHU were given the day off in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr., these students chose to look at the day as a “day on,” not a day off. They spent their morning at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, working on projects using recycled materials.

Students worked to create patio chairs from old wooden pallets and repurpose an old wooden wire spool into a table and bench chairs. 

Alexis Comden, a junior, summed up why she does service in one simple sentence: “It feels good to do something totally and completely not for yourself.”

This ideal gets at the heart of what Martin Luther King Jr. was preaching about in his quote above. He was known to have said that everybody and anybody can be great because they can serve. 

Andy Mikulski, a freshman, commented on why Monday was rewarding for her. “We were able to actually try to build something for other people,” she said. Andy said she has worked with Habitat on other projects before, so this was not a new experience for her.

“I was pretty happy that there was something to do on MLK day because I got to go out and do something useful and be around other people, rather than sitting at home doing nothing,” she said.

As Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out, people need to be less concerned with themselves and more concerned about what they are doing for others.

Stefan Wilkinson, a senior, said, “Volunteering for Habitat was a great way to take some time to help others on MLK day, a day for service.” Service doesn’t have to be complicated or a big show. It can be something as simple as volunteering at the local Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Club, Food Pantry, etc. 

Sharmaine Wills, a sophomore, said she understands the importance of service not only to people, but to her community. “I serve because I was raised to give back to my community,” she said. “Although I am from Cincinnati, Ohio, being away at school I consider Adrian my community now.”

What do students think is the best part about service? People can always walk away with something: insight, gratification, skills, memories, etc. Stefan said he learned new skills and felt proud of the work he did.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.”

Feature photo: Students who took part in the MLK service were, from left: Rachel Otmanowski, Keegan Pabst, Sissy Phillips, and Sharmaine Wills.

Reprinted with permission from Spectra, the student news site of Siena Heights University.

 

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