MLK Day inspires campus, community events

Every year communities across the country come together in service and remembrance on Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day.

This is a federal day of service dedicated to being “a day on, not a day off” since many schools and organizations do not meet on this holiday.

Mercyhurst College and the Erie community are hosting events on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012, and the days leading up to MLK Day.

Bethany Brun, AmeriCorps*VISTA for the Department of Service-Learning, added, “Celebrating MLK’s life is vital to continuing the push for equality in every way. With the events both at Mercyhurst and in the community, we can use them to reflect on why we still have cause to remember his dream and what we can learn from each other through our unique experiences.”

The 8th Annual MLK Reflection Reception will be Monday, Jan. 16, from 9 to 11a.m. in the Herrmann Student Union Great Room. Those attending will be able to discuss with others about the meaning of MLK Day. The brunch and reflection is sponsored by the Marion Shane Multicultural Center, Service-Learning and the Center for Student Engagement & Leadership Development.

Following the reception, the 26th Annual MLK Memorial March will take place in downtown Erie. The march will start at noon at Perry Square. The Service-Learning Department and Campus Ministry will provide limited transportation for those who cannot drive. Those who are driving can meet the group at the Perry Square gazebo at the “Mercyhurst College Celebrates Diversity” banner.

The Bayfront NATO/Martin Luther King Jr. Center (MLK Center) is sponsoring the Memorial March. Afterward, they will be hosting speakers and have refreshments at the MLK Center that everyone in the community is welcome to attend.

The Service-Learning Department is also hosting an immersion trip for students to work at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. following the march. There, students will package and sort donations. Those attending this will conclude with a post-service reflection.

In addition to these events, there will also be other initiatives in the community. On Friday, Jan. 13, the MLK Center will sponsor the MLK Memorial Annual Awards Dinner ceremony at the Bayfront Convention Center. On Saturday, Jan. 14, local AmeriCorps members will work with youth at the MLK Center by doing anti-violence/anti-bullying simulations and drama work.

The following weekend, the Service-Learning office is encouraging students to attend a gospel church service. The service will be Sunday, Jan. 22.

“As MLK was a man of great faith with a dedication to peace, civil rights, service and community, my hope is that the activities throughout the experience are a fitting opportunity to celebrate/honor his life while perhaps growing in our understanding within a new community,” Director of Service-Learning Colin Hurley explained.

For more information about the events, email Colin Hurley at or Bethany Brun at