Students prepare for Martin Luther King Jr. day of service
TNE Editor
/ Categories: Feature, Campus

Students prepare for Martin Luther King Jr. day of service

Published 12/5/18

Sara Ryals

TNE Writer

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. played a substantial role in the civil rights movement. His lectures are said to have ignited modernization in today’s culture. During his lifetime, King was arrested 30 times for participation in civil rights activities. He preached on justice, empowerment, love and peace. At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, King announced that he would gift the prize money of $54,123 to the civil rights movement.                                            

In 1938, legislation was signed marking the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a federal holiday. In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday as a national day of service. Each year on the third Monday in January, MLK Day of Service is recognized as a "day on, not a day off." MLK Day of Service is designed to empower, strengthen, bridge barriers and bring volunteers closer to King's vision of a beloved community.

“Serving positively impacts students as well as the community,” said Logan Bryant, Barnsdall junior. “Students who serve, gain life skills and a healthy relationship with the community. This also grants students with a sense of belonging and ownership. Through this, the community is bettered and services are provided to people and places that need it.”

NSU’s MLK Day of Service is organized by RISE scholars. The RISE program is a scholarship initiative enabling and commemorating students for their service to the community. In spring 2018, the university announced that scholars within the existing program will receive the duration of the scholarship, but the program would no longer be accepting students.. The program cut has brought questions of the future of NSU’s MLK Day of Service.

 “We are looking to have help from the President’s Leadership Class in hopes that they will eventually take it over,” said Jayme Hayes, MLK Day of Service director. “MLK Day of Service provides much for the community. I hope that we will be able to continue this tradition for years to come.”

The PLC program is composed of scholars who focus on campus and community leadership and involvement.  The program is designed to cultivate outstanding potential in proven student leaders.

“I participated in MLK Day of Service last year and had a great time,” said Casey Bulman, PLC scholar and Claremore sophomore. “We didn’t do anything too difficult but it was just nice to know that we were helping out in the community because everything counts.”

Although the RISE scholarship program is coming to an end in approaching years, the scholars have not lost their vigor to serve or their appreciation for the university and community.

“Our program has many leaders dedicated to service,” said Mallorie Larimore, RISE president. “It is the main reason many of us were awarded the scholarship. We will continue to serve NSU and the community that has given us so much.”

In the Tahlequah area, MLK Day of Service focuses largely on the surrounding school systems. Volunteers engage in organization efforts, cleaning and outdoor upkeep.

“I’ve seen this day help so many teachers in the Tahlequah community,” said Hayes. “It gives them an opportunity to have help with the million things they have to do.”

The 2018 MLK Day of Service had over 100 student volunteers serve at many job sites across Tahlequah. RISE scholars hope to see continued growth in MLK Day of Service volunteer attendance and job site numbers. All are invited to volunteer and play a role in commemorating the life and ideas of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK Day of Service begins at 9 a.m. on Jan. 21, 2019 in Jack Dobbins Field House.

For questions about the day of service, email Hayes at

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