A few days after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, ASU’s Appalachian and the Community Together office hosted their annual MLK Challenge on Jan. 21 at Legends. The challenge asks students to commit to a day of activism to honor the legacy of Dr. King.
“[The challenge] is a nationwide thing and I think we have such a strong community already here in Boone. It’s important for us to be showing our support too,” Katie Miller, a nursing major and part of the impACT section of ACT said.
ACT has hosted the challenge for the past 18 years as part of its mission to cultivate responsible citizenship through education and action.
“It’s important to our community and to the whole of Boone that we engage our students in other ways in the community,” Daniell Boase, a nursing major and member of the impACT team, said. “All organizations are like community partners.”
A few of the partners include AppVoices, the Rail Jam at Daniel Boone Park and F.A.R.M. Cafe, among others.
“It’s very deliberate who we chose as community partners,” Jacob Thomas, a public administration major and also a part of impACT, said. “They had to be people that actually do stuff in the community that had stuff for us to do and it wasn’t randomly picking people.”
The coordinators of the event stress that the purpose of the event is not to stop at just a day of service.
“MLK Day is definitely significant in the fact that it’s representing King’s legacy,” Miller said. “But it’s service and volunteering should turn into active citizenship at some point.”
ACT also wants to emphasize that although Jan. 16 is a national holiday, people are encouraged to make the most of the day.
Throughout the day, the main goal of the challenge is to give back to the community and teach civic responsibility and resilience. If participants encounter a problem, they are encouraged to look past it and keep going with the mantra, “It’s all a part of the challenge.”
Natalie Miller, a pre-law and criminal justice major, said she participated because her sisters at Sigma Kappa did it last year and really enjoyed it. Miller was part of the group helping to sort books at the Watauga County Public Library.
“I’m seeing all these books that I loved and haven’t read since I was a little kid,” Miller said. “This is something that I would never would have thought of, dedicating my day to organizing books in a library, but I can understand how this would be important to bettering the community.”
Miller was not the only one who found that she could help the community in a surprising way.
Katie Lambert, a freshman elementary education major, said she found helping reorganize Ram’s Rack thrift shop rewarding because she feels local nonprofits do more to help the community.
The Challenge this year had an excellent turnout with dedicated volunteers who all want to contribute to the betterment of their community. The objective of the event is to put into perspective the extent of what a citizen can do for the greater good.
“I think it forces you to ask yourself what are you doing today, what are you going to do tomorrow, so on and so forth,” Thomas said. “I think in us having all these community partners, it’s saying there’s always different things you could be doing, so there’s not really just one thing. There’s no excuse to not actually go out and give back.”
Story by: Angela McLinton, News Reporter