UT Service Celebrates King’s Spirit

UT Service Celebrates King’s Spirit Before hitting the books, UT hit the streets last week to bring their post-Winter Break energy into the Tampa community. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 15, 2007, the P.E.A.C.E. volunteer organization led the sixth annual Memorial Day of Service in remembrance of the slain civil rights leader.

“Just the whole notion behind King, I don’t know how to explain today,” said student Marie Compere. “It means a lot to me. It’s starting the semester with something positive.”

The event was a reminder to students to not only remember King but also the community.

“On MLK day it is a nice day to contribute in remembrance and to give back as UT students,” said Michael Aarts, a member of Sigma Chi fraternity.

The MLK Day of Service originated from Congress passing the King Holiday and Service Act in 1994 and is a day dedicated to community service.

“Dr. King was a man who broke barriers and communicated his ideas to a vast amount of people. Helping underprivileged groups is what he would have wanted all of us to do,” said Krysten Loielo, P.E.A.C.E. Head Coordinator.

The MLK Day of Service is part of the spring student orientation and is a counterpart to the fall semester’s Into the Streets program, which provides another opportunity for students to experience community service early at UT.

“To help people who help handicapped kids is something that has to be done,” said freshman Tanner Cox, while describing his experience cleaning horse manure and bedding stalls that makes therapeutic riding for the handicapped possible.

Student determination motivated the service at several local sites including Bakas Horses Handicapped, Gorrie Elementary School, Seniors in Service and the Keep Hillsborough County Clean Project.

In total, 81 volunteers comprised of students, faculty and administration logged 324 service hours, nearly 100 more than in 2006. Faculty and staff in attendance included Charles Allen, Peggy Huey, Kim Northup, Casey Stevens, John Struss and Rosario Urso.

“I think you find that those students who are likely to participate in events like MLK Day are more friendly and open with each other. It was an absolutely positive experience,” said John Struss, professor of Chemistry and Physics.

“I think it helps for students to remember Dr. King’s message by giving directly to the community and interacting with people from underprivileged communities,” said Casey Stevens, Coordinator of Greek Life and Community Service.

The overwhelming positive sentiments for community involvement are reflections of Dr. King’s words that adorned the event’s t-shirts: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” ___________

P.E.A.C.E Calendar of Events

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