Community service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day



The Student Leadership Council’s annual MLK Day of service will be held in the Maucker Union Ballroom from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 15.


As many schools and businesses will be closing in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Student and Leadership Council (SLC) encourages students to “make the day off, a day on.”

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, an expected 500 volunteers are scheduled to package food and participate in service activities in the Maucker Union Ballroom.

Hillary Davis, the Days of Service executive for SLC, said the annual event is intended to enable students to recognize the diverse living conditions of people in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area, giving them an outlet to help.

“I think that, at least being a college town, we are used to college students and interacting with professors and people our age,” Davis said. “We kind of forget that there are people and lives outside of this little bubble that are struggling with food.”

The annual day of service that SLC hosts on MLK Day is sponsored by the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. Providing enough food and supplies for the event, the local food bank helps make possible the packaging of 15,000 meals, which are later distributed to children and families in the Cedar Valley.

In addition to assembling the bagged meals and participating in various simulations, Davis said those in attendance will hear brief messages from two presenters. Paula Knudson, the vice president for Student Affairs, and Barb Prather, the executive director for leadership at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, will speak on the topics of hunger and service.

“Hopefully, after listening to Barb from the food bank, [the volunteers] will get a better understanding of what it is like in Cedar Falls and Waterloo for families and single households,” Davis said.

Grant Kilburg, executive of leadership and development for SLC, will be in attendance on Monday to volunteer and encourage others to do the same.

“It’s really a day to step out of your comfort zone, to give back, to kind of take a day to remember the importance of service and leadership in your community,” Kilburg said.

SLC is active on campus and within the community throughout the year, partnering with various organizations and businesses in the area. In addition to their days of service, SLC hosts “Volunteer Tuesdays” and “Stop and Serve” events throughout UNI’s academic year, which provide students with an easy way to give back to the community.

Recently, SLC has added four new events to their annual programing, which altogether offers students six different opportunities to volunteer on or around campus.

Those who are interested in volunteering on Monday, Jan. 15, are encouraged to register through the SLC Facebook page or drop by on the day of the event and register at the door.

“Three hours might seem like a lot,” Davis said. “But anyone who comes makes a giant impact.”