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USD students honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

VERMILLION, S.D. -- On Monday, Jan. 19, USD’s Alternative Week of Off-campus Learning (AWOL) program hosted a day of service to honor and celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. More than 80 students, faculty, staff and community members helped complete various service projects at local organizations like the Center for Children and Families, St. Agnes School, Vermillion Public Library, Heartland Humane Society, Vucurevich Children’s Center, Yankton Homeless Shelter, River City Domestic Violence Center and the Yankton Boys and Girls Club.

Project highlights included painting at the Newman Center, playing games and socializing with residents at the Sanford Care Center and Avera Yankton Care Center, assembling activity kits for children at Head Start, building and organizing a library for the River City Domestic Violence Center, preparing and serving food at the Welcome Table, baking cookies for The Center, and packing lunches for the Vermillion Backpack Program.

In addition to the day of service, keynote speaker Negin Farsad, a nationally-recognized social activist, filmmaker and comedian, was welcomed to campus on Tuesday, Jan. 20, as part of the MLK Jr. Day Celebration. Her address was entitled “Comedic Justice.”

For more information about AWOL or the Day of Service, please go to


Housed in the Center for Academic Engagement and Global Engagement, AWOL (Alternative Week of Off-Campus Learning) offers students the opportunity to combine community service with education during academic breaks. Prior to departure, students participate in six weeks of educational training. By utilizing experiences and education, AWOL enables students to become active citizens whose community becomes a priority in their everyday life and provides them with avenues for continued community involvement and learning.


USD’s Center for Academic & Global Engagement (CAGE) gives students the chance to gain real-world experience and knowledge and connect with their community and the larger world. CAGE offers academically based opportunities that create skills employers and graduate schools seek. Among them: off-campus service-learning programs, studying abroad, student exchange, undergraduate research and nationally competitive awards and fellowships. CAGE also provides support to international students with cultural and academic adjustments as well as immigration concerns.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News