Remember Martin Luther King’s influence on our country by registering to participate in Rowan’s MLK Day of Service on Monday. The event takes place 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in Hawthorn. Volunteers will make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, gather white tube socks and make placements to donate to emergency food provider Cathedral Kitchen in Camden. Students, families, student groups and community members all welcome! The event is sponsored by the SJICR Interfaith and Spiritual Exploration Center, Interfaith Council, and the Philosophy and Religion Studies Department.
Director of the Office of Social Justice, Inclusion and Conflict Resolution Gardy J. Guiteau says, “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a public figure whose public service helped to move us as a nation through and beyond some of the most painful and crippling policies and practices of inequity. MLK fought against inequality in all of its forms. So, as a public university, Rowan’s celebration of MLK Day through service is only fitting.”
This day promotes service, volunteerism, and encourages us all to lend a helping hand to those in need. Daniel Rubin, a freshman civil engineering major participant from Whippany, Morris County, shares that he hopes the event will to spur internal reflection, “Hopefully some people will think about what they are celebrating and take action on it.”
Kazi Hafiza, a sophomore political science major from Clementon, Camden County, agrees. “This day will help students realize if you have the ability to help, reach out. There are so many struggling and we should help those in need.”
Beena Sukumaran, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and President’s Fellow for Diversity & Inclusion, believes that with everything being said in the media lately, Martin Luther King’s message is in dire need to be heard and remembered now.”It is important now more than ever that our Rowan students be extremely tolerant of diversity. We should embrace and learn from one another,” says the professor, she herself an immigrant who entered the United States 27 years ago.
“Gardy’s service is admirable,” she adds, speaking upon Gardy J. Guiteau’s actions to tie together Rowan students and our communities. Inspired by MLK’s selflessness and acts of service towards social justice, engineering students have been reaching out worldwide, using their strengths and education from Rowan University to improve communities in need through Rowan’s Engineers Without Borders.
Through this club, students work first hand to solve problems within less fortunate areas, like addressing an insufficient water supply for a town in Dominican Republic. Students are currently working on projects there, as well as in Haiti and Camden, NJ. This is one large example of Rowan students reaching out to help those in need, but Beena Sukumaran hopes the MLK Day of Service event inspires others to make small differences within campus.
“Students who participate in this service project will have the opportunity to connect with one another, learn about MLK’s work, and leave with the knowledge that they helped to improve the lives of others in their community,” adds Guiteau.
“I am a firm believer that service benefits the performer as well as the receiver,” Richard Jones, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, says. “It reminds the performer of their good fortune, and helps them cultivate a spirit of gratitude. If we live our lives with that sort of spirit, then we are able to recognize the life force in all things. When we recognize the life force in all things, then our actions benefit the larger community because we approach others from a place of empathy.”
MLK has already inspired Rowan students to make their own impact on a community. Senior writing arts major Antony Copsey of Jackson, Ocean County, hopes that this day encourages students to “get out of the sidewalks and into the streets. Let’s fight for what Martin Luther King fought for years ago … civil obedience and standing up for your beliefs.”
Start off the semester on a positive note, being inspired by Martin Luther King. Freshman business management major Alexia Thorpe of Lawrence Township, Mercer County, says, “This is a good way to kick off the semester,” and we couldn’t agree more.
Vanessa Vause, junior public relations major and advertising minor