CAE at The U seeks support for national day of service event

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota’s Center for Academic Engagement (CAE), in cooperation with Students Enhancing Resources for Vermillion Enrichment (SERVE), is challenging the community to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a day on, not a day off.

CAE received a grant to conduct service-learning projects on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Designed to help college campuses across the country become more active on this national day of service, the $2,500 grant was awarded through the North Carolina Campus Compact.

Students, faculty and staff from USD along with community members participating in the national day of service meet in the morning to learn more about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. After being divided into groups, volunteers work together to complete community service challenges. Challenges range from door-to-door canned food collections to purchasing paint to help community organizations renovate their interiors. A celebration with local entertainment and photographs from the challenges are also part of the day’s program.

While the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is the signature event, the $2,500 grant is also meant to assist with service opportunities during the spring semester. Throughout this multi-community project, the goal is to engage 500 people in service by the end of April.

“The projects will be a great opportunity for everyone to come together, meet new people, and provide service to community projects in honor of Dr. King,” said Jacquie Lonning, Coordinator of Academic Engagement at USD.  “Our hope is to keep that spirit of service going throughout the year and have multiple events involving the USD and Vermillion communities working together through service.”

CAE and SERVE have teamed up with the USD Office of Institutional Diversity and the Campus Diversity Enhancement Group to plan the “day on, not a day off” event. In addition to planning projects or providing support for projects, volunteers are needed for community fundraising opportunities. Individuals interested in providing any assistance for the national day of service can e-mail sdmlkday@gmail.com or call (605) 677-6338.