On Friday Jan. 20 the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) and Cardinal Volunteers collaborated to lead the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
Over 30 students met at Saginaw Valley State University before travelling to three different non-profit organizations in Saginaw to help complete various projects and serve their community.
This year, students volunteered at the Mustard Seed Shelter, First Ward Community Center and the Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity. Jessica Davis, fourth-year elementary education major, helped lead the event as the Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator in the Center for Community Engagement & Experiential Learning.
Davis explained the different tasks students completed at each volunteersite:
“At First Ward Community Center, volunteers painted in a community space and helped move items,” she said. “Those assisting Habitat for Humanity hung drywall and helped with construction at one of their sites. Volunteers at Mustard Seed Shelter stuffed bags and backpacks and helped with general cleaning around the shelter.”
Davis also acknowledged that tasks can often change as the day progresses.
“Our goal is to help the organizations we visit in whatever way(s) would be most beneficial to them. As a result, we stay flexible for what volunteering will look like, since the need may shift slightly once working through tasks,” she said.
Before embarking on their service missions, students ate breakfast while learning more about Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision.
After the Day of Service, students ate lunch and reflected on the day’s events and what they learned about the community with each other.
Davis said this connection between student volunteers is part of what makes days of service so impactful.
“It is a cool opportunity to get together with likeminded individuals who are passionate about learning, volunteering, and reflecting on the importance of the education and service from that day,” she said. “I also like that so many people come together and make a significant difference at the organizations we partner with.”
Davis encouraged students who have never participated in such an event before to come out and see what days of service are about:
“Participating in days of service is a great way to connect with like-minded individuals who are interested in learning and making an impact in their community,” she said. “In planning days of service, my goal is to eliminate as many barriers as possible, so those who want to volunteer have the opportunity.”
Besides the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, OMSA also hosts a Women’s History Month Day of Service in March and a Cesar Chavez Day of Service in April.
Students are encouraged to visit the OMSA office at Student Center 111 or email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how to get involved for future community projects.