High Point University (HPU) students, faculty and staff celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the same way it does each year – with a day of service that HPU describes as “A Day On, Not Off.”
In keeping with that practice, students, faculty and administrators at HPU volunteered over 2,000 hours of service to roughly a dozen service projects on campus and in and around the city of High Point.
This is an annual tradition for the school on MLK Day, and, this year, students and others weren’t stopped by the cold and rainy weather. Hundreds of volunteers from HPU took part in service projects that ranged from filling 20,000 packets of vegetable seeds in the Slane Student Center to painting a hallway inside Southwest Guilford Middle School which badly needed the improvement.
Also, the basketball court inside the university’s Slane Center was transformed into a large assembly line with nearly 600 students helping the nonprofit organization Rise Against Hunger fill 70,000 meals for people in developing countries. Students filled stacks of plastic bags with rice, soy protein, a vegetable mix and vitamin sachets.
Also, on the day that was a holiday for many, the HPU Workman School of Dental Medicine provided free dental care to veterans, teachers and first responders at two HPU Health locations – one in Asheboro and the other in Durham.
Every year, the university’s students, faculty and staff volunteer about 500,000 hours of community service. (As a result, HPU was recently selected as one of just 40 colleges and universities in the nation to receive the Carnegie Foundation Classification for Community Engagement this year.)
In a prepared statement Lovelle McMichael, assistant director of the HPU Center for Community Engagement, said the students understand the importance of service to the community and others.
“From the seed-packing event at Slane Student Center to the Growing High Point event on Washington Street, I am able to witness students, faculty and staff just pour their heart and soul into providing residents of this city with seeds that they can grow in their own homes and grow food,” McMichael said. “From the backpacks that we’re giving away to local students to the warm winter coats that we’re giving to young children, to be able to go to school and know that they don’t have to stand in the cold without a coat is so important. High Point University students understand the importance of giving back and making sure that they are living the service that we honor here at High Point University.”
Hannah Parson, president of HPU’s Student Government Association, said that students at HPU are “generous with their time and with their talents.”
As part of the tradition to honor Dr. King, the university also held the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Worship Service in Hayworth Chapel on campus. The keynote speaker was Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, a founder and senior pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia.