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UNI students serve the Cedar Valley on MLK Day

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 13:01



University of Northern Iowa students volunteer at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank Monday, Jan. 21. The students took part in the fourth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, hosted by the Student Involvement Center.

Students at the University of Northern Iowa braved frigid temperatures to volunteer around the Cedar Valley on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.    
“Martin Luther King Jr. was about service and giving back,” said KaLeigh White, vice president of the Northern Iowa Student Government. “It’s important for students to give back. It spreads ideals.”
Bright and early on a brisk Monday morning, students gathered in Maucker Union to check in for the day of service. Students were bused to various locations in Cedar Falls and Waterloo to assist with community projects.

Locations included the Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE), the Catholic Worker House, the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, the Cedar Valley Hospitality House, Ridgeway Place assisted living facility and Country View Care Center.

Sadie Range, a senior public relations major, enjoyed volunteering on the day of service.

“I fixed mini solar panels used by students in grade schools to learn about reusable energy in a fun way,” Range said. “And last year, I helped out at the Hospitality House in Waterloo, helping out the less fortunate in the community. I really enjoyed learning how what we were doing helps others and the community.”

Jesse Truax, a senior statistics and actuarial science major, also enjoyed the experience.

“I volunteered at the Ridgeway Place assisted living in Waterloo,” Truax said. “Myself and other volunteers made Valentine’s Day crafts and exchanged conversation with the residents just before lunch. I think it’s important to participate in these types of events because caring and helping others seems less evident every day.”

After the students finished at their respective locations, they congregated for lunch in the Maucker Union. Dr. Michael Blackwell, director of the Center for Multicultural Education, spoke about the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the importance of service.

“King believed that the structure, processes and services of this country needed sweeping, far-reaching changes, and the last three years of his life demonstrate his long-standing embracement of democratic socialism and the development of a beloved world community,” Blackwell said.

A total of 126 students participated in the MLK Day of Service. When considering the average hourly value of an Iowa volunteer, attendees of the event saved the Cedar Falls-Waterloo community approximately $3,250.


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