On Monday, Jan. 20, Villanova University held its 13th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Around 400 Villanova students traveled to 23 sites in the greater Philadelphia area to serve the community. This was a great turnout, as even more students came out to serve this year than did last year. Students traveled to places such as Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery and Delaware Counties, Radnor Township Civic Association and the Philadelphia Furniture Bank.
Gia Beaton, President of the MLK Day of Service Committee and a junior at the University, was excited to connect with other students and see how the service impacted the community.
“One of the best parts of today is getting to know and serve with a lot of different people at Villanova,” Beaton said.
Students involved in Greek life, athletic teams, clubs and so many other parts of campus came out to serve on this day off.
“I’m excited to spend the day with some of my best friends and make our day off a day on.” Julia Ramsey, member of the women’s rowing team who served at St. James Regional School, commented.
The day started at an early 7:30 a.m., as the students gathered in Jake Nevin Fieldhouse eating bagels and preparing for the day. At around 8 a.m., the committee welcomed everyone, and thanked all the sponsors. The Villanova University Gospel Choir then asked everyone to join them in singing “I Need You to Survive.”
Following the stirring song, University President Rev. Peter M. Donahue, O.S.A., Ph.D., was welcomed to the stage. He thanked everyone for using their day off to help others and led the group in prayer, blessing everyone before they began to serve.
Lastly, Dr. Maghan Keita was invited to the stage. He wanted everyone to remember four points from the day. First, he wanted everyone to stop believing that the commitment to change is for old people, saying that everyone and anyone is capable of change. Then, he reminded everyone that service should not only be a single day’s work, but also a perpetual commitment. Keita then reminded everyone of their privilege to serve others.
“With privilege comes responsibility,” Keita said.
Lastly, he reminded everyone to embrace this service, saying to “embrace what it means to be a Villanovan on this day, that you have the privilege to serve others on behalf of justice.”
Before exiting the stage, Keita left everyone with this final reminder: “Embrace your service, embrace your responsibility and stay warm.”
Applications for the 2020-2021 MLK Day of Service Committee will be sent out in the coming weeks.