Students heading off to serve on MLK day of service. Courtesy of Franchetta Groves
By Franchetta Groves
Students braved the cold and spent their day off from classes serving others in the community. On January 20, students started the morning by meeting in the Pryzbyla Center at 7:45 a.m.. This year over 960 students participated in the tenth annual annual day of service.
Campus Ministry sponsored the event and spent months of preparation to make this day possible. Countless hours and funds went into getting the resources and connections to bus students to various sites around the city to serve. The theme for this year was “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” It served as a reminder and inspiration for students that it is important to serve the local community.
Before students went out to brace the cold, they were able to hear speeches from students in the Black Students Alliance, who had co-sponsored the event. Black Students Alliance had also compiled a video from students and faculty explaining what Martin Luther King Day meant to them.
Along with this, students were able to hear videos and speeches from Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders in the Civil Rights movement. It served as a reminder to students of how far we have come and the work that is still to be done in order to work towards equality, and “Make Justice a Reality for all”.
Sports teams and student organizations got involved and had groups go out together and serve in unity. All sports teams had groups visit various sites to give back to the community. Organizations such as College Democrats also gathered members to participate. Other groups were formed with individuals living in the same dorm. Groups from Regan, Englehard, Opus, and many more dormitories gathered as groups to serve.
Some students were taken to the George Washington Parkway where they helped remove English Ivy from the trees in the National Parks. English Ivy is an invasive species that can kill trees and destroy the parks which are enjoyed by so many.
“Service gives back to the community that surrounds us,” said freshman Catalina DeMassi on her experience and why it is important to do service.
Other students helped the Washington Hebrew Congregation and sorted through donations for the poor and those in hard situations.
“MLK day of service was meaningful because it encouraged an atmosphere of putting faith into action,” said freshman Clare Finney. “By going outside of our normal routines, we are able to provide for others. We understand more and more that each day is an opportunity to leave our comfort zones so as to make the future our own by supporting all the people we interact with.”
Finney is on the women’s lacrosse team and was able to participate alongside her teammates in the local community. She spoke of how the experience allowed her and her team to directly have a positive impact on the world and community.
“Service was very rewarding,” said Maddie Strokis, a senior who went with her teammates on the Track and Field team, “I went to the Franciscan monastery and helped them clean up their gardens and move lanterns. It was physically taxing but it felt good to give to the community.”
Ultimately the Catholic University was able to gather to give back to the community. Students were given the opportunity to take their day “off” of school and make it a day “on” for service.