HIGH POINT, N.C., Jan. 16, 2023 – Today, High Point University students gave back to the city of High Point through several service projects for HPU’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. In total, the HPU family dedicated nearly 2,000 hours in service to the community for “A Day On, Not a Day Off.” Their work is part of the 500,000 service hours the HPU family contributes annually.
“Dr. King’s presence is felt throughout the HPU campus, from his quotes to his bronze sculpture displayed on the International Promenade,” says Rev. Joe Blosser, executive director of the Center for Community Engagement. “It’s fitting that High Point University honors this federal holiday with a day of service. It’s an opportunity to honor his legacy by serving others, building empathy and strengthening our community.”
Students served the community through nearly 20 projects to revitalize local organizations, clean areas in the city of High Point, pack thousands of seeds for the community, pack care kits for veterans and more. HPU students in the departments of nursing, pharmacy and physical therapy also provided free public health screenings for the community at the Pro Bono Physical Therapy Clinic.
For senior Ries Allyn, the day of service is something she looks forward to being part of every year. This year, she participated in a variety of events throughout campus and the community, including packaging and serving food at West End Ministries.
“This really is a time for students to reflect and think about those who have impacted them and give us a chance to say thank you through service,” says Allyn, a journalism major from Stamford, Connecticut. “Today’s a day to interact with the High Point community and be able to give back to a community that has given so much to us. As a senior in this community, I’ve spent four years here, and it has become my second home.”
HPU student Makenna Paglione helped lead a vegetable seed packaging service project in HPU’s Slane Student Center that will provide 19,000 seeds to the Guilford County Cooperative Exchange and 1,000 seeds to Growing High Point.
“These seeds will allow people to have access to healthy fruits and vegetables and help cover some of those food hardships,” said Paglione, who serves as a Bonner Leader at HPU and in the community. “This allows the community to learn how to garden for themselves, brings social interaction to community gardens and provides physical activity, so there’s a lot to these packages of seeds.”
In addition to students, faculty and staff also participated in the service events. Jennifer Wagoner, communications specialist for the Center for Community Engagement on campus, brought her three children along to participate in a winter care kit packing event for those experiencing homelessness.
“One of the reasons we chose to serve at this event is because my son, Carter, has a heart for helping and helping the homeless,” says Wagoner.
In 1994, Congress designated a federal holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service – “A Day On, Not a Day Off.” Senior Grant Hines says Dr. King’s legacy is reflected through the service events that take place every year on this day.
“Dr. King’s legacy is incredibly important to HPU students, as there are reminders throughout campus of his inspirational leadership and service,” says Hines, a journalism major from Owings Mills, Maryland. “His legacy also inspires us as students to emphasize the importance of giving back and serving the community. I’ve learned at HPU to carry on these life skills of serving throughout my life past college and wherever I go.”
In addition to the service projects, HPU hosted multiple educational workshops, speakers and films highlighting Dr. King’s life and legacy.
Special guest Dr. Elwood Robinson served as the keynote speaker for HPU’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Worship Service, held today in the Hayworth Chapel on campus. Robinson is the chancellor of Winston-Salem State University, serving in this role since 2015. He has also served as the founding dean of the NCCU College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and as provost and vice president of Cambridge College.
Robinson challenged the audience to keep doing the hard work required to build a better future, and when growing weary, to remember the progress already made that once seemed impossible.
“We abolished slavery, earned the right for all citizens to vote, fought, bled and died for civil rights and granted universal suffrage…,” said Robinson. “We must consciously create an environment of mutual respect, hospitality and warmth to which none of us is a stranger and in which all of us flourish. I realize to get to this point, to create this kind of world, it’s going be a lot of work. Sometimes when we think about where we want to go, it feels like it’s hard to get there. But sometimes, it seems, we have forgotten that we’ve done hard things before. Every time, it took a terrible fight between people who could not imagine changing the rules and those who said we already did.”
“On this day of celebration, when we are also reminded to continue to dream, let’s not dream ordinary dreams, but ones filled with reaching mountain tops and reaching our full of God-given potential,” Robinson concluded. “Let the affirmation of faith, hope and love be our ringing cry. It will give us courage to face the uncertainty of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength.”