On January 20, 2020, students, faculty and staff participated in University of Michigan-Dearborn’s 27th annual MLK Day of Service. This day consisted of on- and off-campus opportunities for people to sign up and participate in activities that helped benefit others within the event or people and animals who are in need of care.

The three on-campus opportunities that were presented in an email by Patricia Schlaff, the special events manager, included Knitting and Crocheting, Polar fleece blankets, and pet blankets for The Friends of Animals of Metro Detroit. Leah Higgins, the Opinions Editor for Michigan Journal, was one of the many volunteers that participated in this event. Leah stated that she has participated for the last three years.

Students holding the tie blankets they made for those in need. Photo//UM-Dearborn/Facebook

“Everyone from my sorority gets together and signs up for volunteering opportunities together so we can spend the day helping those in need,” Higgins said. “What I like most about MLK Day of Service is that it is such a simple way to give back and help out the community. Everything that MLK stood for is shown in the Day of Service and it’s really cool to know that I helped do something for someone else, no matter how big or small the commitment is.”

The annual MLK Day of Service consisted of speakers that are from UM-Dearborn and from Henry Ford College. Ann Lampkin-Williams, Dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services, Ann Lampkin-Williams helped put the event together. People who volunteered then proceed to their designated spots for their service, which took place in both Dearborn and Detroit. According to Higgins, sign-ups for this event started in November, but pointed out that there are always opportunities to serve the community and many people were welcomed.

When asked how she felt the people being served were benefiting from this event, Higgins said, “I think those being served get help in ways that are a little hard to describe a blanket term for. As an example, some people travel to Gleaners food bank and they help package and clean food for those in need. So in that way, the people being served are ensured good, clean food that they may not have access to otherwise.”

There are plenty of opportunities to serve that are provided by UM-Dearborn, and most can be found on VictorsLink. Any further questions about this event for the future can be answered by Patricia Schlaff, Liaison to the Chancellor.