Capital University continued its tradition of welcoming people with diverse perspectives to campus for a day of learning, conversation and service to honor the legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Capital held its 22nd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Learning on Monday, January 21, combining the pursuit of knowledge and understanding through civil dialogue with the power of service to strengthen the community.
In addition to more than a dozen community workshops and ongoing events like Act on Racism, a student-oriented theater group that uses drama, poetry and dialogue to confront racial inequality, discrimination, and institutional racism, a high point of this year’s celebration was the University’s focus on service and community partnerships.
As a recipient of the 2013 MLK Day of Service Collegiate Challenge grant, Capital partnered with First English Lutheran Church, Bexley Library and Bexley City Schools to collect canned food items, provide breakfast to the Near East Side community, and to teach youth about nutrition, exercise and healthy habits. A friendly competition among Capital’s student organization added to the momentum.
In the end, nearly 4,000 food items were donated — so many they had to be divided among three local food banks because of storage limitations. Congratulations to Capital’s Catholic Student Organization, which collected 268 food items to win the competition.
“Community strength and outreach make a positive and lasting impact in the lives of those who need our assistance,” explained Cynthia Duncan, Capital’s director of Multicultural Affairs. “Millions of people in the United States face a state of food insecurity — lacking enough food for an active, healthy life. One out of six households in Ohio struggle to provide basic food needs. We believe it is imperative to do our part to help area residents of all backgrounds meet this basic need.”
Capital’s food drive started in November and soon after, the spirit of giving spread. Bexley Middle and High schools partnered with Capital during the food drive, and during the month of December, the Bexley Public Library signed on to sponsor a “Food for Fines” program. Through the generosity of its patrons, the library forgave over $1,600 in fines in exchange for donated canned goods. Many more food items were donated than fines forgiven.
“The program provided a ton of positive energy at the front desk during the holiday season,” said Mackenzie Betts, the library’s director of advancement and community relations.
While another MLK Day has passed, Capital’s commitment to serve and improve our community continues.
“Just as Dr. King’s life and legacy is rooted in the lives of those who follow in his teachings, we hope that the spirit of service will continue to be deeply engrained in our everyday actions for as long as possible,” Duncan said.
To find out about upcoming community engagement opportunities, contact Duncan at email@example.com
or Deanna Wagner, assistant director of Student and Community Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org