BGSU to scale back MLK Day of Service because of winter session

BGSU students at First United Methodist Church, from left, Dierra Johnson, Brianca Burks, Ashley Robinson, and Kaila Gardner during MLK Day of Service activities in 2017.

By DAVID DUPONT

BG Independent News

Bowling Green State University’s switch to a winter session will take a toll on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

At the December Faculty Senate meeting, Paul Valdez, associate director for the BGSU Center for Community and Civic Engagement, said that because most students will not be on campus during winter session, it will not be possible to have the Day of Service in the same way.

In the past decades, about 800 students would volunteer to work on dozens of community projects throughout Northwest Ohio. Because it is uncertain how many students would be on campus in this inaugural session, the university had to scale back the number of projects offered, he said.

Still the university wants to continue to provide people the chance to serve, he said. So the Office of Community and Civic Engagement will help with the organization and volunteer recruitment for the MLK Jr. Day of Service  “Can”vass Food Drive.

The Brown Bag Food Project organized the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service food drive.

That effort is coordinated by the Brown Bag Food Project and is run out of Grounds for Thought in downtown Bowling Green, on Jan. 19 and 20, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Some volunteers go out into the community, knocking on doors and soliciting donations of food. Others will be at Grounds for Thought sorting out those donations.

The food collection is distributed to food pantries throughout the area.

Valdez said about 150 volunteers were needed, but there is a chance to expand that number.

He said that if there is an outpouring of interest in volunteering, further service day projects may be offered in the future.

Interim Provost John Fischer said that the response to winter session has been good.

About 1,500 students have enrolled in some type of academic activity, Fischer said. That includes filling up all the slots for trips abroad being offered.

Other students are going to conferences with faculty. While others are taking classes.

Fischer said that this summer, the university will asking for requests from faculty who want to lead trips during the 2021 winter session.

BGSU created the winter session to aligned its calendar with other institutions, including the University of Toledo.

Students have the option of taking courses during that period. The session gives them a chance to catch up or get ahead by taking a course, traveling, doing research projects, or earning money by working during the period.

Winter session will run from Jan. 2 to Jan. 23 this year.

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