TSU students participate in virtual Joint Day of Service to honor legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students and their peers from other area higher education institutions did not let the pandemic stop them from honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The students participated in a virtual MLK Joint Day of Service on Jan. 18. Before the coronavirus, students would gather at one of their schools before being bused to various locations throughout Nashville to volunteer as part of the special day.

This year, once students register, they had a choice of four nonprofit organizations to virtually learn about the entities, how they are faring during the pandemic, and how to volunteer with the nonprofits. A short service activity followed with a reflection on the students’ experiences.

Besides TSU, participating schools included Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, Belmont University, Trevecca Nazarene, Lipscomb University, Vanderbilt University, and Nashville State Community College.

“All of the schools agreed that despite the pandemic, students needed the opportunity to honor the legacy of MLK in a virtual setting through service,” said Dr. Erik Schmeller, director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at TSU. “Given the racial and political upheavals of the last year and more recently, we felt the Dr. King quote, ‘Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve,’ was particularly relevant and serves as our theme this year.”

Volunteers organize classroom at Harvest Hands Community Development as part of last year’s MLK Joint Day of Service. (TSU Media Relations)

The organizations participating this year were Greater Nashville Regional Council, Turnip Green Creative Reuse, Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary, and Project Transformation.

TSU junior Brittanie Pruitt, a nursing major from Covington, Tennessee, said community service is critical, particularly amid the current pandemic.

“It’s definitely important to give back; everybody needs a helping hand,” said Pruitt. “You might need help one day.”

On Jan. 16, TSU’s Honors College joined the Interdenominational Ministers’ Fellowship in a Virtual Nashville MLK Day Youth Symposium. The theme was “Moving the Movement: Honoring Our Past, Present and Future.

For more information about TSU’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/servicelearning/.

Department of Media Relations

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Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.