Highlanders help local communities during virtual MLK Jr. Day of Service
For the eighth consecutive year, the Radford family demonstrated its dedication to serving the local community during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
The annual Radford University event coincides with the MLK Jr. federal holiday, a national day of service, recognized on the third Monday of every year. Traditionally on this day, dozens of Highlander volunteers venture out into the community to serve in different capacities. Some read and interact with local schoolchildren or sort food and clothing donations. Others knit cold-weather wear for students and construct blankets for infants.
This year, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, volunteers were challenged to continue to give back in a safe and meaningful way.
A committee of campus representatives organized and decided for the University’s main campus to partner with the Community Foundation of the New River Valley (NRV), specifically the organization’s GiveLocalNRV campaign. The Community Foundation is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Christiansburg, Virginia, that helps individuals, families and businesses in the NRV create and sustain a vibrant, supportive community. GiveLocalNRV is a virtual fundraising effort offered to NRV nonprofits.
Similarly, the Radford University Carilion (RUC) campus and the Waldron College of Health and Human Services partnered with the Friendship House Roanoke, Inc., and the Ronald McDonald House, organizations that assist families in the Roanoke Valley.
On January 18, 2021, the campus community was divided into service teams and encouraged to donate to different causes based on the needs of the partner organizations. For example, the College of Visual and Performing Arts and College of Graduate Studies and Research were challenged to contribute monetary donations to Beans & Rice, Inc., or collect canned goods for the Bobcat Backpacks Program. The College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences and Artis College of Science and Technology donated infant supplies, such as diapers, blankets and bottles, to New River Community Action.
“We had boxes in our residence halls for residents to leave items for the competition. Residents were encouraged to leave items in the box, specific to their college,” explained MLK Jr. Day of Service committee member Chris Bridgers, a Housing and Residential Life resident director. “Students, faculty and staff were also able to drop off donations in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion office. On the day of the event, our campus facilities team went to the residence halls to collect donated items throughout the day. If members of the Radford community were not able to donate non-perishable or any other suggested items, there was an option to contribute financially. Each college had their own designated area to donate online.”
Additional donations were collected through January 27.
Bridgers called the event a “huge success,” adding that he was proud of the campus community for coming together once again to support such a worthy cause.
Radford University’s MLK Jr. Day of Service 2021 by numbers:
RUC & Waldron College of Health and Human Services
- Monetary donations to Friendship House: $400
- Item donations to Ronald McDonald House: 756*
Davis College of Business and Economics & College of Education and Human Development
- Monetary donations to the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley: $1,175
- Item donations to Radford Fairlawn Daily Bread: 158*
College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences & Artis College of Science and Technology
- Monetary donations to The Giving Tree: $1,470*
- Item donations to New River Community Action: 566
College of Visual and Performing Arts & College of Graduate Studies and Research
- Monetary donations to Beans and Rice, Inc.: $645
- Item donations to Bobcat Backpack Program: 207
Team Highlander: Administration and staff and students with undeclared majors
- Monetary donations to New River Community Action: $835
- Item donations to New River Community Action: 437
Total monetary donations: $4,525 from 86 donors
Total item donations: 2,124
*Teams with the highest monetary and item donations