Published on January 10, 2024 by Scarlet Thompson  

Samford University’s Office of Community Engagement has a special invitation for students who want to spend the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday serving others – give back to the community while preserving history.

The university is partnering with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) to send groups of students to the national historic landmark on Monday, January 15.  The students will set up for events happening that day, assist visitors with literature, take part in activities and help with crowd control.  Each student serving is asked to make a two-hour commitment.  Those interested can sign up through the Office of Community Engagement’s recently debuted Give Pulse portal.

“This platform is specifically designed for community engagement on college campuses and is the primary way we connect with our community partners and students who are interested in serving,” said Debby Haralson, Director of Community Engagement. “If you click the link on our Samford webpage, you will see upcoming opportunities, special events and many of our community partners. “

Haralson is excited to collaborate with the BCRI, as it will give students the opportunity to not only serve but learn.

“When students are able to spend time with people directly affected by these challenges, perspectives broaden. What was once an issue is now a name and a face. Empathy, understanding, and creative solutions grow out of intentional relationships,” said Haralson.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the BCRI’s largest event of the year.  More than 3500 people from around the country visited last year to mark the observance.

“The BCRI counts on volunteers to help give every visitor an opportunity to learn about Birmingham history and its impact on the world,” said Shawana Ariel, volunteer coordinator for the BCRI.  “I hope Samford students will take advantage of the benefits of community service as a path to more inclusion, diversity and furthering human rights.”

Students can register for the day of service at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute here

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.