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January 10, 2008

Staff Encouraged to Mark MLK Day with Service

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Continuing a commitment to public service that dates back to its founding in 1875, Smith College is inviting its faculty, staff and area students to perform community volunteer work on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in honor of the slain civil rights leader.

The college’s Office of Multicultural Affairs is organizing teams for volunteer service at local organizations on Monday, January 21.

Called “A Day On, Not a Day Off,” the event encourages faculty and staff members, who are given the day off for the federal holiday, and students, who may be in the local area prior to the start of the spring semester, to honor Dr. King’s legacy.

In 1994, Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, designating the third Monday in January as a national day of volunteer service. Instead of a day off of work or school, Congress asked Americans to celebrate Dr. King's legacy by turning community concerns into citizen action.

“We hope the day of service brings together people in honor of Dr. King and his legacy by encouraging community building and social action,” said Venus L. Ricks, acting director of multicultural affairs.

A few years ago, President Carol T. Christ initiated a similar program in which all college employees are allowed one day off each year to conduct community service. Because the Martin Luther King Jr. Day is already a day off, employees who opt to participate in the day of service will still be able to dedicate an additional work day this year for service.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs aims to have at least 10 teams of five people each to perform community service on the holiday. Among the organizations they may select are Working Friends of the Homeless, The Literacy Project, Calvin Coolidge Nursing Center and the Prison Book Project.

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. By linking the power of the liberal arts to excellence in research and scholarship, Smith is developing leaders for society’s challenges. Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country, enrolling 2,800 students from nearly every state and 61 other countries.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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