“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
BOONE, N.C. — A call to service was answered Saturday, Jan. 20, by nearly 250 students, faculty, staff and alumni who helped clean, organize, paint, repair, sort and more as part of Appalachian State University’s MLK Challenge.
The annual event, now in its 19th year, is organized by Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT), whose mission is to cultivate responsible citizenship through education and action. The day of service, reflection and education celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The challenge kicked off at 8 a.m. in Plemmons Student Union, where participants were divided into teams and assigned a site leader — an Appalachian faculty or staff member — before receiving a service challenge to be completed for a local organization by day’s end.
Longtime partners of Appalachian’s MLK Challenge include the Hospitality House of Boone, Western Youth Network, F.A.R.M. Cafe, the Children’s Council of Watauga, The Children’s Playhouse, Kids with Autism Making Progress in Nature (KAMPN), Mountain Alliance, Blue Ridge Conservancy, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, Appalachian Voices, Joy Cove Group Home, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Habitat for Humanity, Hunger and Health Coalition, W.A.M.Y. Community Action and many others.
During last year’s challenge, 200 Appalachian students gave a total of 1,200 combined hours of service — or the monetary equivalent of $28,272 — to 23 local charitable organizations. Additionally, students raised donations of over $450 for the Junaluska Heritage Association and collected more than 1,400 diapers for the Children’s Council of Watauga by completing bonus challenges.
ACT has facilitated students in providing more than $22.5 million of value to the community over the past 10 years — more than 1.1 million hours of service using the $24.24 per hour national standard for volunteer time, plus nearly $631,500 in funds raised.
About Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT)
Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) provides service experiences as opportunities to connect and engage with others to build authentic relationships, stimulate critical thinking and skill building, and recognize individual impact and responsibility to the local and global community. Between the 2004–05 and 2017–18 academic years, over $25 million of value has been contributed to the community via Appalachian State University's Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) program (over 1.91 million hours of service plus $699,786 in funds raised) using the $24.14 per hour national standard for volunteer time. ACT partners with over 160 local nonprofits. Initiatives include blood drives, hunger and homeless awareness events, fundraising for local charities and alternative service experiences. Learn more at https://act.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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