A free day from school Monday provided students and community members with the opportunity to give service and honor the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr.
Casey Peterson, director of the Center for Service and Learning, said the event was well-attended with more than 1,000 volunteers participating in more than 30 service projects on campus and throughout the community. He said he hopes that this day will be only the beginning of a year dedicated to service.
“I hope that this day is a springboard for more service throughout the year,” Peterson said. “It’s not just one day that we come together in unity to serve, but a habit and a contribution that we make on a daily basis in our lives.”
Peterson said the event was planned and directed by student program directors who began a year in advance to prepare. BYU joined with Utah Valley University and United Way of Utah County to organize and host the event.
The “Community Outreach Day” began with a devotional address from Provo Mayor John Curtis who said he believes that if Martin Luther King Jr. were here today, he would tell him to continue to do all that he can to make sure that every human being is treated with dignity.
“Dr. King is gone but his challenge to take care of others still lives on,” Curtis said. “He [Martin Luther King Jr.] is quoted as saying, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is this, what are you doing for others?'”
Curtis said that Provo has the largest volunteer rate in the entire United States, with a rate that is four and a half times more than the national average.
Volunteers at the event were involved with service projects that included blood drives, quilt-making and off-campus activities throughout Provo and Orem. Students were excited for the opportunity to participate and serve.
“I wanted to do something service-oriented today in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Raquel Flores, a junior from Ecuador majoring in Latin American studies. “It seems like an appropriate thing to do today.”
Flores and two of her friends said they had signed up to do trash pick-up and clean-up around the community, and that they were happy to be able to help.
Volunteers were well provided for as they took the time to serve. Donuts, juice and transportation were sent to projects that were not on campus. Chuck Krebs, a senior from Kentucky majoring in public relations, was one of the student program directors involved with planning the event.
“BYU provides the donuts, UVU provides the juice, then we all come together to serve,” Krebs said.
A candlelight processional hosted by BYU’s Multicultural Student Services entitled “Walk of Life: A Celebration of the Life and Mission of Martin Luther King Jr.” concluded the day and will serve as a reminder to keep the light of service alive throughout the year.