April 18, 2024

MLK Day of Service provides leadership guidance for students


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Prince Abed, student leader for GDSA, hands out chocolate during the Involvement Fair.

The University of Tennessee’s Center for Leadership and Service held the 13th annual Clifton M. Jones Student Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King Jr. Day Service on Saturday, Jan. 18  in the University Center.

Student leaders from many UT organizations attended this event, which included a keynote speaker, individual leadership breakout sessions and service projects around Knoxville.

Alicia Price, coordinator for UT’s Center for Leadership and Service, helped plan the event, oversaw the program and worked around the clock directing students to various breakout sessions and service sites for the day.

“It’s pretty big and a wonderful event and we certainly couldn’t do it without the help of community members and also fellow staff members,” Price said. “This is really multifaceted.”

This year, the conference also had an Involvement Fair for the attendees. More than 500 people committed their time and resources to putting together the fair including several student and community student organizations.

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New to this year, the Conference held an Involvement Fair for attendees so they could learn about various student organizations.

Student organizations like Ghanaian Diaspora Student Association participated in the fair to showcase cultural involvement in the community as a way to cultivate future leaders.

“We are here promoting Africa as a whole,” said Prince Abed, a student leader for GDSA. The organization handed out indigenous Ghanaian chocolates to students as a means to promote its developmental projects.

Blake Roller, state president for Circle K International, a division of Key Club International, sold Filipino braided bracelets to raise money for the organization to provide tetanus shots to people in the Philippines.

Roller, who first joined Key Club in high school, said “I loved the organization so much I wanted to continue it in college.”

After students attended the Involvement Fair, the event continued with trips to the service projects. More than 20 groups of students loaded onto buses to visit sites like Second Harvest Food Bank and the Knoxville Botanical Gardens.

Price spoke of the importance for students to give back to the community and campus, not just for MLK Day but also as a part of their academic career at UT.

“We have a huge wealth and variety for students to learn more about leadership development and also service and social justice in the community,” Price said. “We have the entire afternoon really dedicated to service in the community, which I think is in his spirit.”

Edited by Maggie Jones

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