MLK week celebration includes community service projects, speakers and social events

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A universitywide drive to collect items for those in need, community service projects, an array of speakers and a student video essay contest will be part of Virginia Commonwealth University’s weeklong celebration of the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Students returning for the start of the spring semester on Jan. 12 are encouraged to participate in a video essay contest, detailing how they have incorporated King’s ideas into their daily life, educational goals and aspirations.

The essays should be two-to-three minutes long and copied on a CD or DVD for delivery to the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, room 215 in the University Student Commons, by 5 p.m. on Jan. 15. Prizes are available for the top three entries. Additional contest information and participation guidelines are available here.

Winter collection drive:

“MLK Celebration 2015” will feature a service collection project to collect winter accessories such as hats, scarves and gloves and travel size toiletry items. These items will be donated to CARITAS for distribution to homeless people in the Richmond area.

The service collection project runs from Jan. 12 through Jan. 16 on both campuses. Items may be dropped off at the following locations:

Monroe Park Campus:
·        College of Humanities and Sciences - Hibbs Hall
·        School of the Arts - Pollak Building
·        School of Education Student Services - Oliver Hall First Floor Student Services
·        School of Engineering
·        Wilder School - Scherer Hall
·        School of Mass Communications - Temple Building, room 221
·        School of Social Work - Third floor, Academic Learning Commons
·        VCU Graduate School - 408 W. Franklin St.
·        VCU AmeriCorps Office - 1103 W. Marshall St.

MCV Campus:
·        Cabaniss Hall
·        Low Rises
·        Barnes & Noble
·        Larrick Student Center, 900 Turpin St.
·        Partnership for People with Disabilities, 700 E. Franklin St.
·        Department of Microbiology and Immunology, 1101 E. Marshall St.
·        Hunton Student Center, 1110 E. Broad St.

In addition, Rams basketball fans may also drop off items at a collection table in the lobby of the Siegel Center before the men’s basketball game against St. Joseph on Jan. 10 and before the women’s basketball game against Davidson on Jan. 15.

For more information on the drive or to host a collection box, contact Niya Flemmings at

Community Service Projects:

Students, faculty and staff will have three opportunities to volunteer to work with children at Lobs & Lessons, in the Mary and Frances Youth Center at 120 Linden St. Volunteers are needed on Jan. 14, 4–5 p.m.; Jan. 15, 3–5 p.m.; and Jan. 16, 4:30–6 p.m. Those interested must register by contacting Erin Brown at

VCU AmeriCorps is seeking VCU employees to volunteer for MLK Reading Day at local elementary schools on Jan. 16. Participants will read to students and discuss King’s life and impact. Interested volunteers should contact

The MLK Day of Service will be held throughout the area on Jan. 19. VCU students, faculty and staff can participate in a variety of community service projects coordinated by HandsOn Greater Richmond. Check here for a list of available opportunities and for additional registration information.

Selected Events:

David Banner, a Grammy Award-winning music producer, recording artist, actor, philanthropist and civic activist, will speak on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. at the University Student Commons Commonwealth Ballrooms. Tickets are required for admission. VCU students with valid student I.D. may pick up tickets from BreakPoint in the lower level of the Student Commons. A limited number of tickets are available for faculty, state and alumni, who should contact Niya Flemmings at by Jan. 12.

“Virginia & the Civil Rights Movement,” a panel discussion, will be held on Jan. 16 in Common Ground at the University Student Commons. The discussion will be moderated by John Kneebone, Ph.D., chair of the history department, and will feature former Virginia Sen. Henry Marsh, who was also Richmond’s first black mayor; Carmen F. Foster, Ed.D., educational consultant and adjunct faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute; and Jody Allen, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor and co-chair and managing director of the Lemon Project at the College of William and Mary.

On Jan. 18, a community dinner will be held in the University Student Commons. Participants will meet at 3 p.m. in the James River Terrace to pack items collected during the university drive and then meet for dinner at 4 p.m. in the Commonwealth Ballrooms. Christy Coleman, co-CEO of The American Civil War Center, will serve as the keynote speaker at the dinner. Registration is required.

Visit 2015 MLK Celebration to register for the MLK Donation Assembly and Community Dinner gathering or to review the full list of MLK Week events and activities.

The weeklong celebration is sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Planning Committee, the Division of Community Engagement, University Student Commons and Activities, Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, VCU Alumni, Activities Programming Board, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., VCU Athletics and the Division of University Relations Office of Events and Special Programs.


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