Martin Luther King Jr. Day

University of Redlands Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance

Seven Ways to Make a Difference

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, University of Redlands students and staff have the opportunity to make a difference in a myriad of ways. The Community Service Learning department is setting up seven projects with which anyone can help. Designed with busy schedules in mind, participants can stop by a project fair between classes and create something good in a short amount of time.

“We wanted to create more accessible projects,” said Nicholas Fisher, graduate management intern with the Community Service Learning department. “A number of students want to get involved, but might only have an hour or two, or are in class all day long. We wanted to get students involved even with those restrictions. Our activities are all 10 to 15 minute projects that can help impact an organization when done in large groups.”

The fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Hunsaker Plaza, with participants able to stop at one of the following tables:

  • Get on the Bus letter packages–Get on the Bus is a nonprofit that brings together children with their family members who are incarcerated or in rehabilitation programs. “We are putting together letter packages that include stationary, stamps, and everything else that can help children stay in touch as they go through this tour of centers where their parents are staying,” Fisher said. Participants will be able to take supplies with them to put together kits in class or with a group or organization.
  • MLK Dream Writing–An internal project, MLK Dream Writing asks volunteers to write on note cards their thoughts on how to better meet the needs of the community. The cards will then be transformed into a collage and put on display.
  • Birthday Bags for Kids–Benefiting several local organizations, this drive is for items that any child would be thrilled to receive on their birthday. “This helps support kids who might not be able to have birthdays at home, because they are in boy’s homes or without housing,” Fisher said. “We are looking to do a drive of materials that can go into birthday bags, like stuffed animals, games, coloring books, things you imagine tossing into a bag for a birthday party.” Volunteers will also be assembling the bags during the event.
  • Soles for Souls Drive–This drive will help not only locally, but globally. Soles for Souls is a charity that recycles shoes for people in disaster areas. Interested parties can drop off new and used shoes, as well as clothing.
  • Key to the Cure key chains–Crafty types will enjoy taking part in this project, which benefits women’s cancer research. “This is an activity that turns into a fundraiser,” Fisher said. “Each keychain made is sold at a minimal price, which we contribute to the cause.”
  • Inland Temporary Homes hygiene drive–Inland Temporary Homes works towards giving families stable environments, where they can move forward with their lives. One aspect they want to push is not forgoing basic hygienic practices. “We are looking to collect hygiene items to help them feel a sense of dignity as they are going through services,” Fisher said.
  • Got MLK Milk Drive–Oftentimes people donate non-perishable and dry items to charities like the Blessing Center and Family Service Association of Redlands, but completely overlook something as basic as milk. “We are asking for donations of the price of one gallon of milk ($3.50) so we can go ahead and get it and contribute it so it can be partnered with dry foods, like cereal,” Fisher said. Participants can stop by Hunsaker Plaza anytime during the event, and can bring back completed kits or monetary donations to the Community Service Learning office by 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25. “We are also trying to send people off campus, if there are needs at Family Service Association or Inland Temporary Homes,” Fisher said. “We are looking to branch out beyond the day.” 

For more information, contact Fisher at 

The Celebration

The Redlands community is invited to the University's Memorial Chapel for a celebration in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20. The event is free and open to the public of all ages.

"It is very much town and gown,” said Chaplain John Walsh. The program will be similar to those in the past, with students, faculty, and staff taking part.

“There will be music from different sources and a number of people will be speaking and doing readings," Walsh said. "It is very much a celebration of Dr. King.”

The University’s marking of the holiday is usually held on the actual day, the third Monday in January, but the timing changed due to a special occasion.

“Because of the inauguration on Monday, we didn’t think we should compete with that,” Walsh said. “This honors both Dr. King and President Obama appropriately.”

The program, which is expected to last one hour, is presented by the Office of the Chaplain, along with Campus Diversity and Inclusion and several other departments.

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