George Fox joins in day of service on MLK Day

Martin Luther King Jr. - World Telegram & Sun photo by Dick DeMarsico

World Telegram & Sun photo by Dick DeMarsico

About 120 students and employees at George Fox University joined more than 1,200 students from 10 other colleges and universities to serve the Portland metropolitan area with acts of volunteerism on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 18.

The Portland event ties into a national day of service. Initiated by Congress in 1994, King Day of Service builds on the civil rights leader’s legacy by transforming the federal holiday honoring him into a national day of community service grounded in his teachings of nonviolence and social justice.

The event began with a rally on the campus of Concordia University in Portland at 9 a.m. Immediately following, students boarded busses and headed to project sites across Portland. A wide variety of projects were planned with the help of Hands On Greater Portland and the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. Projects included refurbishing schools, churches and community centers.

As the conclusion of the day, students engaged in reflection to discuss the impact of King on their lives as well as what the next steps will be for student collaboration.

“The aim is to make the holiday a day ‘on,’ not ‘off,’ where people from Portland-area college campuses unify together for the common goal of serving others and being the ‘beloved community’ that Dr. King envisioned,” said Shelley Yonemura, director of multicultural student programs at George Fox.

Service is nothing new at George Fox. For 11 years the university has hosted Serve Day, when it closes school for one day in early September to send students and staff members out to surrounding communities to perform various volunteer projects. On Sept. 9, 2009, about 1,400 from the university visited more than 70 sites, performing acts of service that ranged from painting and cleaning to pulling weeds and construction projects. Teams served in Yamhill, Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah counties.

Other participants in the King Day of Service included Lewis and Clark College, Mt. Hood Community College, Portland Community College, Reed College and the Portland Leadership Foundation.