BGSU students fan out through the region on MLK Jr. Day of Service

Jamie Hawkins (left) and Jenna Battaglia clear sidewalks in downtown Bowling Green.

By DAVID DUPONT

BG Independent News

Steady snow showers throughout the region Monday couldn’t keep more than 800 university students from answering the call to service.

The snow just gave a few of them another way to help.

A group of Bowling Green State University students participating in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service came to the office of Downtown Bowling Green. While some of them worked inside creating chalk signs for an upcoming United Way fundraiser, a handful headed outside with shovels and ice melt to clear sidewalks.

They just wanted to help, said Jamie Hawkins and Jenna Battaglia.

This is the 10th Annual Martin Luther King Jr, Day of Service coordinated by BGSU.

With the students involved this year, the event will have sent about 5,800 volunteers into the field to serve the community.

Angel Alls-Hall

Angel Alls-Hall, one of the student organizers of the event, told the volunteers before they went out that this was a way of honoring King’s own service. “Today we carry on that legacy of activism and service that Dr. King embodied. So let us go out to the community to serve today and in days to come.”

Jauntez Bates, a senior political science major and vice president of undergraduate student government, said service has been an essential part of his education at BGSU. He’s participated all four years, including last year as a site coordinator.

He is a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy and a fraternity both of which emphasize service. And he’s already founded a clothing company, BossUpClothing, that combines commerce and philanthropy. “You should be a helping hand to others,” he said.

The MLK Day of Service, he said, helps expands how students view volunteering because they are assigned places and jobs that they know little or nothing about. “This just shows your dedication to service.”

On Monday he was one of the crew helping to building 15 mini-libraries, a project sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and the Rotary Club.

Addie Lytle, a first year film student, was also on that crew. As part of the Chapman Learning Community participation in the day was mandatory. Still she was excited to participate, and hopes to be involved throughout her BGSU career.

This was her first experience with the Day of Service, but not with volunteering. She has traveled to Hawaii to plant trees to improve the habitat for endangered bird species.

Volunteering, she said, will provide experience that she needs as a filmmaker. “You have to work with a lot of people, a lot of moving parts. You need people skills.”

Interim President Rodney Rogers said the Day of Service is an integral part of BGSU’s mission. “An important part of education is to making sure we have well rounded, engaged citizens. As a public university, we take that very seriously. This is where the real work goes on to building communities.”

Through the university’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement this activity, he said, “goes on 12 months a year.”

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