Students celebrate MLK day through service

Luisa Venegoni, Staff Reporter

More than 800 students from Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, Xavier University and Dillard University participated in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Jan. 19. The event kicked off the Martin Luther King, Jr. Week for Peace, a new annual series of events celebrating and commemorating King’s life and legacy.

Students volunteered either by painting and cleaning at sites around the city or by participating in community living and learning labs. Community members led the labs and taught students to engage with their communities by applying different concepts related to culture, the environment and sustainable and effective volunteer work.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Week for Peace was established in 1987, but the living and learning labs were not introduced until this year. Junior Samantha Fleurinor, who served on the planning committee, said the labs enhanced the Day of Service’s impact.

“As this event grows and improves, the Day of Service allows Tulane students to develop a better relationship with the city and its residents,” Fleurinor said.

Other Week for Peace activities included a convocation with civil rights activist Michael Skolnik, student and community forums and a unity celebration. The week’s 2015 theme was “New Faces of the Dream: Moving from Apathy to Activism.” Planning committee member and senior Whitney Braunstein said the committees were trying to capture the civil rights movement today.

“We were looking at how we could experience civil rights in this day and age and what that means now and as opposed to in the ’60s,” Braunstein said.

Braunstein said the Day of Service and the Week for Peace are meant to not only commemorate King, but also to explore ways to address current issues.

“The objective of the week is to honor Dr. King’s memory and legacy and recognize the ways in which we still need to be doing service and working for civil rights within the community,” Braunstein said.