GWU shortens classes to extend service in honor of MLK Day

By: Chelsea Sydnor

Gardner-Webb University will be observing a day of celebration and service in honor of the work and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 18, 2016.

“We want students to be able to understand better who Dr. King was, and why he was important,” explained Dr. Tom Legrand, director of the Center for Christian Ethics and Social Responsibility.

Classes will run on an abbreviated schedule ending at 12:30 p.m. in order for students to have time to participate in various service projects throughout the community. The projects include serving at senior centers as well as the Boys and Girls Club, building wheelchair ramps and collecting school supplies.

“The things that we are doing are meaningful,” said Micah Martin, director of Student Leadership Development and Community Engagement. “They will meet a real need.”

This year’s events have expanded on last year’s program organized by Dr. Shea Stewart of the English Department, in which videos and art pertaining to Dr. King were displayed on campus. However, last year’s proceedings lacked the aspect of service.

“[Dr. Legrand and I] were both in new roles last year,” shared Martin. “We had the chance to observe Dr. Stewart’s energy put into the program and decided to help expand the university’s efforts.”

The educational aspects of the celebration will be carried forth as well. Dr. Albert Brinson, a contemporary and friend of Dr. King, will be on campus for a discussion forum about his time working with the Civil Rights Movement. He will also speak at Dimensions on Jan. 19.

Students will also have the opportunity to write on the “Walls of Hope” in Tucker Student Center, where they can share positive and encouraging messages about peace.

According to Dr. Legrand, the event intends to inform students more about Dr. King and his ideas through both education and service. “If we inspire them, hopefully they will spread that into the community.”

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