Students embark on a day of service

More than 80 University of Northern Iowa students volunteered at one of five locations in the Cedar Valley on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan.17.Students load canned goods at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank.

UNI students were encouraged to honor King's life on this national Day of Service and volunteered at the Catholic Worker House, Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Cedar Valley Hospitality House, Grout Museum District or Country View. As students departed for the day, Dwight Watson, dean of UNI's College of Education, set the tone by addressing King's work.

Dwight Watson, dean of the College of Education, speaks to students as they departed for a Day of Service on Martin Luther King, Jr. day."Dr. King truly believed that a life worth living is one that was lived for others," remarked Watson. "As you embark on your day of service, I too want you to embrace Dr. King's belief.  As a part of a community, you must participate in the well-being of that community and there is no better way to effect community change than through service."

Holly Kockler, a senior majoring in accounting, said, "Taking time out from classes and homework to honor Dr. King's life in a day of service is a great opportunity. UNI gives students so many opportunities; and on MLK, I'm proud to put King's mantra 'service before self' into effect."Students wash windows and walls during their Day of Service.

"These opportunities will secure you privileges that others cannot access," said Watson. "If this world was based on equality in which all would have the same means of access and opportunity, then these service days may not be necessary."

UNI Provost Gloria Gibson explained, "UNI's American Democracy Project is sponsoring this day of service because part of the education of UNI students is learning to be civically engaged in their communities. Service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day reflects Rev. King's dream of making our country a better place for all, as envisioned by his dream of 'the Beloved Community.'"

The UNI Student Leadership Center, the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley and UNI's American Democracy Project sponsored the annual Day of Service.