BOONE, N.C. — The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. has long been honored by Appalachian State University. For 21 years (1999–2020), App State led an MLK Challenge — with hundreds of students honoring the life and legacy of King through a day of service, reflection and education by working with community partners. This year may look different but the spirit is the same.
Ways to honor Martin Luther King Jr. in 2021
While COVID-19’s impact has led to the cancellation of this year’s MLK Challenge, the Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) Office challenges members of the Appalachian Community to still find ways to honor King’s legacy. Among ACT’s suggestions:
- Find volunteer opportunities in Boone or online using ACT’s community partner list.
- Connect with resources promoted by App State’s Intercultural Student Affairs.
- Plan to attend the 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration on Jan. 26 featuring Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.
- Check out 2021 MLK Day celebrations and observations in the Triangle and Charlotte.
- Explore resources available through AmeriCorps.
App State’s Office of Sustainability also welcomes individuals to organize food drives for its Mountaineer Food Hub, which supports campus community members in need.
Later in the spring semester, ACT plans to honor King’s legacy through a collaborative service and education event hosted by student members of the ACT Team. Details will be shared on the ACT website.
“The key tenets of the ACT mission are to use service experiences as an opportunity to build authentic relationships, stimulate critical thinking and recognize individual impact and responsibility,” said Heather Jo Mashburn, associate director for ACT in the Department of Student Engagement and Leadership.
“The tradition of hundreds of students participating in the MLK Challenge over the last 21 years has allowed us to provide an opportunity for service, reflection and education for so many members of the Appalachian community," Mashburn said. "As a one-day event, the MLK Challenge pushes student, faculty and staff participants to think about their greater role in the world around them."
Read on for a look back at previous service opportunities at App State.
SoundAffect podcasts with previous MLK speakers
What do you think?
Share your feedback on this story.
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 2018–19 academic years, nearly $25.5 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 $781,419 in funds raised) using the $25.43 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 the Division of Student Affairs
The Division of Student Affairs at Appalachian State University is committed to the development of lifelong learners and leaders by engaging and challenging students within a culture of care and inclusion. The division consists of 14 units that offer activities and services to help students develop more fully by becoming global learners, fostering healthy relationships, appreciating diversity and different perspectives, understanding community responsibility, enhancing self-awareness, developing autonomy and living ethically. These units include the Career Development Center, Wellness and Prevention Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Health Services, Parent and Family Services, University Housing, Student Engagement and Leadership, Student Conduct, University Recreation, Intercultural Student Affairs, Student Legal Clinic and Off Campus Student Services, Electronic Student Services, Child Development Center, and Staff Development and Strategic Initiatives. Learn more at https://studentaffairs.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The 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 to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.