Imagine. Listen. Hope.
By Max Esterhuizen '15
Testaments to the lasting legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. filled Bondurant Auditorium in Preston Hall in January 2019 as part of Radford University’s annual Commemorative Program.
“Every year, the Radford University community comes together to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK),” said LaShan Lovelace, director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI). “The sixth annual MLK Day of Service sponsored by CDI was an amazing experience, and all volunteers demonstrated Highlander pride through their service and good deeds.”
A central part of the program was the first-ever MLK Day of Service Award, an award that honors a student for their dedication to the community, the classroom and each other. Out of the 235 students considered for the award, Paul Aboagye, a senior computer science major from Alexandria, Virginia, was the inaugural recipient.
The keynote speaker was Marc Lamont Hill, professor of media studies and production and media and communication at Temple University, and he delivered his talk on creating a lasting legacy in uncertain times.
The keys, Hill said, are radical imagination, listening and hope.
“History is made by the tens of thousands of people whose names never get printed in the newspaper, who never get a microphone and who never get the attention. They understood that their work was bigger than the attention,” Hill said.
Being involved in the community is a pillar of King’s lasting legacy and is something that the Radford family has taken to heart.
A record number of students, faculty and staff joined the Day of Service. Volunteers were in locations throughout the New River and Roanoke valleys to give back to those in need.
President Hemphill joined the Radford family in giving back to the local community by helping support the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley, one of 18 local organizations and sites that received volunteers.
Radford students, faculty and staff joined teacher Betty Metzler’s preschool class at the Radford Early Learning Center for the afternoon. Metzler said it was nice to have extra help so the eager 3-year-olds in her class could get valuable individual attention and adult interaction.
Brian Henry, a senior economics and finance double major from Arlington, Virginia, worked through the holiday break between semesters. He also completed an online accounting course and called the volunteer experience at the Radford Early Learning Center a way to reorient himself for the upcoming semester.
“Working with the little kids and seeing their eagerness and openness is a nice way for me to get ready for the challenge of a full semester of five classes,” Henry said.
More than 350 students, faculty and staff joined the Day of Service activities in advance of the opening of Radford’s 2019 Spring Semester on January 21st. Volunteers were in locations throughout the New River and Roanoke valleys to give back to those in need.