WU students, staff serve community on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

by University Communications,

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., nearly 200 Willamette University students and staff devoted an afternoon to serving their community on Jan. 20.

“It’s really a good day to give back and live by the school’s motto, ‘Not unto ourselves alone are we born,’” says Chelsea Cagaoan ’14, a psychology and Japanese studies double major.

“It feels good, not only to give back, but to learn more about the organizations we’re helping.”

Willamette launched its campuswide MLK Day of Service “Into the Streets” about 15 years ago. Through the university-led project, volunteers are dispatched to several sites in Salem to help those in need.

This year, students aided six organizations: the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation, Salem Audubon Society, Waldo Middle School, Marion-Polk Youth Farm, Union Gospel Mission and Center Court Commons.

Their duties included everything from sorting and cataloging educational materials to cultivating gardens and outdoor space.

Eli Butcher '17 says he volunteered because he was inspired by King in a class last semester, while Malayka Mottarella '17 says the holiday reminds her of the many opportunities she's received during her life.

“It’s really cool that so many students donate their time to helping others,” she says about the service projects. “It speaks volumes for how important the community is to Willamette.”

To learn about other ways to volunteer, contact Community Service Learning at Willamette.