Local community is focus of this year’s MLK Day of Service

January 13, 2017
Local community is focus of this year’s MLK  Day of Service

Making an impact in your own backyard through service could be the unofficial theme of this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, given the event’s intentional focus on projects within the city limits of Oxford.  

Organizers worked for the past few months to plan the event specifically to be impactful for the local City of Oxford community. The annual service event, held on the MLK holiday, allows students, faculty, staff and alumni to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by gathering as a group and serving others.

Participants’ hard work will be immediately visible to community members since most of the day’s five service projects are outdoors; service sites include the new Oxford City Park, the Oxford Trail, tree mulching in the city, and the Oxford Organic Farm. An additional indoor service project is available and will benefit local children and elderly community members.  “We wanted to provide an opportunity for meaningful service, not just resume building for participants,” said event coordinator Ricardo Horne, assistant director of student involvement and leadership who also oversees the Volunteer Oxford program on campus. 

City of Oxford representatives will be at each service site, as well as Volunteer Oxford Coordinators, to assist with logistics and manage the volunteers on site. Students, staff, faculty, and alumni will work alongside Oxford residents, continuing the long standing relationship that the College and city have had since their founding in the early 1800’s.

A collaborative effort was a goal of the event organizers from the beginning stages of planning. “The City of Oxford administration makes a consistent effort to be conscious and inclusive of Oxford College students when planning projects and initiatives,” said Horne.

The day of service begins at 8:30 a.m. in Williams Hall with continental breakfast, check-in, and welcome.  Keynote speaker Santana Flanigan 99Ox 01C will address the group before they head out to the various sites for about 2-3 hours of service work. 

Flanigan says his speech will reiterate Dr. King’s premises that “everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” His remarks will tie together Dr. King’s legacy with the service work planned for the day’s participants. “The scope and scale of our service may vary, but how we serve should be intentional and we should always show compassion and listen to the needs of those we wish to help,” he notes.

During his time at Oxford College, Flanigan was an active servant leader through his involvement as a Peer Assistance Leader (PAL) and as a member of Rotaract, a community service club that organized community service projects both on and off campus. His years at Oxford impacted his views on service beyond college. “Oxford faculty taught me an important lesson: you should strive to work with others to achieve a greater good in the community,” he says.

He currently serves as general counsel for Rockdale County Public Schools. Previously, he served as the chief municipal judge for the city of Stockbridge and was a partner at Smith, Welch, Webb & White in McDonough, Ga.

If you are interested in participating, please register online