Students help campus celebrate King’s legacy

Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Missouri Southern paid tribute its own way.

The campus in years past has remained open and held classes as usual, providing some event or activity to give students the opportunity to pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr: This year was no different.

A sub committee of the Diversity committee organizes events both new and old to help celebrate MLK day.

“We really think when a student has an opportunity to serve in a context like this national service, it gives them an opportunity to allow them to think what service means to them,” said Rikki Smith, coordinator of service learning.

The events held on campus are a mix of old traditions as well as new ones.

The members of the Joplin community are also able to participate in MLK day events, like the MLK breakfast.

“It [definitely] helps strengthen ties in the community. We’re celebrating together, [we] bring the campus and community together and then go out and service together,” Smith said.

A grant from the campus compact system helps to partially fund the various events, but those funds have to be met from in-kind or cash donations, according to Smith.

“Local business help support the program. We’re really lucky because usually when we ask a business for materials or donations, they are really glad to be able to help,” she said.

“Portrait of a Dream” was the featured art project this year. The project called for 15 volunteers to go out across campus to ask students to draw a self-portrait on a note card.

The volunteers sent that image back and the portraits were featured on the website in a slideshow.

 “I think this is going to be a new tradition, is to have a public art project and to have a lot of people involved in something like that,” Smith said.

Volunteers also participated with Rebuild Joplin, a project helping with Joplin’s continued recovery efforts from 2011’s tornado.

All those involved with MLK day were asked to bring canned food items for the MLK National Food Drive that was going on at every MLK event.

Students will see a change next year due a decision made by the President’s Council.

Southern’s campus will be closed on MLK day year next year, but the school will continue the day of service.