This years MLK Day of Service led to a surge in volunteers. Nine faculty and staff members and 315 students and community members, compared to the 24 in previous years, volunteered throughout the town of Pembroke.
There were a total of 16 volunteer sites including four road side cleanup locations, Pembroke fire department, Rural fire department, rescue squad safety vehicle clean up, parks and recreations, the Lumbee Tribe Boys and Girls club, Odum Homes, Asbury Homes, My Refuge, University Center maintenance, the campus garden, hygiene care hand-outs and apartment and housing visits to hand out information on “ceasing the grease.”
The day began with a motivational speech about being the change that others want to see in the world. Dalton Hoffer closed the introductory speech by encouraging volunteers to be sure to smile and wave at Pembroke locals as they completed their services. As well as to take pride in the change that they were making for the town.
“It was really good to see so many people have dedication and that they were willing to make a change. It was really nice to hear people honking at us and smiling and waving, thanking us for our service,” said Carmen Johnson, a Biology Club member.
Johnson participated in one of the four road side cleanup crews with fellow Biology Club members and other students.
The MLK Day of Service is an annual event at UNCP, marking its eight year anniversary this year. Hoffer stated that the MLK day of service 2016 took place in Pembroke because the office for Community and Engagement wanted to help students get involved in the community.
“The goal of the MLK day of service was to engage students in the community and to focus in on the development of local projects,” said Hoffer.
In earlier years, the amount of volunteers was scarce, only having 24 volunteers and two volunteer sites. The MLK day of service recruitment has grown substantially and students, organizations and Greek Life have become active volunteers every year.
The day ended with Harvey Godwin, Lumbee tribe chairman, providing a motivational speech for all volunteers. Godwin stated that community is power and involvement within the community is what makes change.
Students are encouraged to stay active within the community by entering Challenge 75, where students will be rewarded a medal for completing 75 hours of voluntary services. Those interested in participating in Challenge 75 can register online.