MLK Semester of Service kicks off


by Dana Lain/Staff Writer

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” This sentiment, spoken by Martin Luther King Jr., helped set the stage for the kickoff of the Semester of Service. The event was introduced during the Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Service. The theme for the nationwide MLK Day of Service was “Make It a Day On … Not a Day Off” and organizations across America encouraged people to get off their couches and serve their local communities. Local organizations are also asking for help from Simpson students and the Semester of Service will help address that need.A group of Simpson students traveled to Grand View University in Des Moines in the afternoon following the MLK Observance to attend a community service fair. Students had the opportunity to make connections with volunteer agencies such as Amanda the Panda, GEAR UP, The Greater Des Moines Partnership, Youth Venture and others where students will be able to volunteer their time planning fundraisers, volunteer appreciation events and other projects such as these about once a month.In addition to Simpson College, several other Des Moines area schools are participating in the Semester of Service, including Des Moines Area Community College, Grand View University, AIB College of Business and Des Moines Public Schools.The MLK Day of Service is sponsored by Campus Compact and AmeriCorps*VISTA. According to Heather Bardole, Iowa Campus Compact AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer, they hope to help solve social problems by strengthening communities, empowering individuals and bridging barriers in communities and that is why they are asking Simpson to help. Bardole encourages students to serve in their community. “It’s important to give back to your community but it is something you must learn how to do,” Bardole said. “If you don’t you’ll realize you’re missing something in your life.”Walter Lain, assistant dean of multicultural and international affairs, also stresses the importance of volunteering.”It is important to serve because it is the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr.,” Lain said. “If you want to be a person of significance it’s a great opportunity to be great.”The culminating event for the Semester of Service will be the End the Isms March and Rally that will be held at Simpson College on April 9. The march has been an important event in the Simpson Community for the past seven years and has continued to be a success. The march is an event to show support for equality for all people no matter their race, gender, sexuality, age or class with community speakers, food and entertainment as well as the march from the Circle of Knowledge to the Indianola City Square.