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USA is expanding its Dr. King, Jr. service day

USA is expanding its Dr. King, Jr. service day

Shelby Guidry

Shelby Guidry

USA is expanding its Dr. King, Jr. service day

Patricia West, Reporter

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The University of South Alabama is expanding its traditional Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. service day by partnering up with several local organizations and extending the celebration to last from Jan. 13-15, according to USA’s Office of Community Engagement.

“Unlike previous years,  when the USA Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service took place only on Monday, the national holiday, this year [is different because] USA is joining with [organizations such as] People United to Advance the Dream, the City of Mobile, L’Arche Mobile, Mobile United, Mobile Baykeeper, Alabama Coastal Foundation and many other groups, to come together for the first time and participate in several of the events throughout the weekend,” Director of USA’s Office of Community Engagement Shannon Shelley-Tremblay stated.

According to Shelley-Tremblay, this year is unique because this is the first time USA is joining the citywide weekend event, instead of having a one-day event on campus.

The first day of the event, Jan.13, is scheduled to be a clean-up of Tricentennial Park.. Students can participate by arriving at the Tricentennial Park at 8:30 that morning and cleaning the area in and around the park.

“I am excited that South is doing a volunteer weekend, because it makes Martin Luther King Jr. Day about more than just a day off work and school,” USA freshman Karrie Seymour said. “We are coming together as a community like we should be.”

Sunday, Jan. 14, will feature the L’Arche Mobile Marathon Unity Walk. Organizations can adopt a mile along the Servis First Light Marathon course to carry a unity banner throughout the city. USA has adopted mile 15 and students can participate by arriving at The Moulton Tower at 11:00 a.m. This mile is to show a sense of unity to everyone in our community, according to Shelley-Tremblay.

On the last day of the event, a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. rally, march and interfaith service is scheduled. Buses will depart from the Fresh Food company on Jan. 15 at 11:00 a.m. to transport students to the service and will return around 1:30 p.m. that same day.

“The weekend is intended to unite the community in the spirit of service focused on commemorating Dr.King’s legacy,” Shelley-Tremblay stated.

L’Arche Mobile representative, Sister Becky Holly, is one of the many individuals who encouraged USA to get involved in the event.

“L’Arche Mobile has always had a relationship with the University of South Alabama,” Sister Holly said. “Students often come to volunteer throughout the year. We have connections with both South and Spring Hill campuses, as to include our community’s youth with events such as this.  We reached out to them, so they could get involved with improving our community.”

“We are all diverse in some way shape or form, and yet we are all alike,” Holly said “It’s good to come together as community and celebrate our diversities.”

Several on campus organizations, such as SGA, African American Studies, USA Honors College and USA Women’s Basketball, are volunteering in the event aimed at honoring the life and work of Dr. King. Students wishing to participate without an organization can do so by signing up for events through OrgSync, or by emailing the Office of Community Engagement at [email protected]

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