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LSU students joined with the LSU Community University Partnership to revitalize several areas of Old South Baton Rouge to kick off the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration on Monday, Jan. 19.

LSU Honors Martin Luther King Jr. with Day of Service

As part of LSU's Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration, members of the university community participated in a Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 19, to help revitalize several areas near campus and in the Old South Baton Rouge community.

Old South Baton Rouge is located north of the LSU campus and south of I-10. The area includes Magnolia Mound Plantation, McKinley High School, and City Park. Currently, Old South Baton Rouge faces considerable challenges in terms of development. The LSU community has a history of helping the area by participating in a monthly “Saturday in Service” where volunteers do community service in needed areas.

To help realize 2009's theme of "Standing Boldly: An Urgent Call for Collective Responsibility," and to promote volunteerism, one of King's fundamental principles, LSU students, student organizations, faculty, staff and administrators partnered with LSU Community University Partnership to aid the local community.

"Our MLK Day of Service continues to connect members of the LSU community with volunteer opportunities available right outside the gates of LSU," said LSU Director of Multicultural Affairs Chaunda Allen. "It is our hope that our Day of Service sparks community activism and civic engagement that resonates with many of the ideals Dr. King was passionate about. Commemorating the national observance of Dr. King's birthday with a project of this kind is a wonderful way to start our 2009 MLK Celebration."

The Day of Service included helping with capital improvement projects at Polk Elementary, Buchanan Elementary and at the Baton Route Battered Women's Shelter. Participants were afforded a hands-on opportunity to better their surrounding community while helping to celebrate and commemorate King's legacy of service.

"Dr. King motivated many to volunteer and serve," said LSU Vice Provost for Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach Katrice Albert. "I am proud that LSU continues to fulfill his legacy through acts of community service, especially in Old South Baton Rouge. LSU's recent Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement praises our commitment. The MLK Day of Service is such a wonderful opportunity for the LSU family to continue our tradition of excellence in civic engagement and to honor Dr. King's memory."

When the United States Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, which designated the third Monday of each January as a federal holiday marking King's Jan. 15 birthday, it was designed to be a national day of volunteer service. Americans of all ages and backgrounds were called upon to celebrate the holiday as a "day on, not a day off," by giving back to their respective communities to help foster better understanding and relationships while promoting King's legacy.

The 2009 LSU Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration is coordinated by the LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee.

Melissa Foley | Editor | Office of Communications & University Relations
January 2009