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Students volunteering during last year's Day of Service

Students honor MLK Jr. with service projects

Hundreds of Portland State students are turning the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday into a day on, instead of a day off.

They are joining about 1,100 students from seven other colleges and universities in the Portland area on Jan. 17 to volunteer on dozens of community service projects. The MLK Day of Service aims to honor King by encouraging students to work together to improve their community.

The service day kicks off a week of tribute events at PSU, including a keynote address on Thursday, Jan. 20 by Michele Norris, host of NPR's All Things Considered.

"To me, MLK Day is about togetherness and learning from other groups of people," says Jayde Wright, a senior history major. "Everyone's working together to get something done."

PSU's Student Leaders for Service program is helping to plan the day and recruit volunteers for projects such as removing graffiti with the North/Northeast Business Association, sorting and delivering food donations with Northwest Portland Ministries, and pulling ivy and planting native species with Friends of Tryon Creek.

PSU President Wim Wiewel and Portland Mayor Sam Adams will welcome students from all eight campuses at a morning rally at PSU. The volunteers then will take buses to their assigned service sites. Last year, Wright helped paint a gym at an elementary school in Northeast Portland. She enjoyed the experience so much that she wanted to help organize the event this year.

"It was a big project," she says. "It was pretty insane, but we got it finished. I had a good time and met a lot of new people."

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Connect with community-based learning opportunities in Portland.

Week of Events

MONDAY, JANUARY 17 Day of Service: A Day On (not a day-off)

TUESDAY, JANUARY 18 Noon College Athletics: Minority Participation, Marketing Symbols and NCAA Governance

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19 Noon Conversation Circle: Brothers and Sisters Talking

6:00 p.m. Screening: Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis at 100

THURSDAY, JANUARY 20 Noon Student Interactive Session: Race and Media Matters

7:00 p.m. Keynote Address: Featuring Michele Norris, NPR

FRIDAY, JANUARY 21 Noon Documentary Film: Dare Not Walk Alone

6:00 p.m. In the Mix: Student performances