Community service will be the focus of MLK Day 2012, with Belmont, TSU joint service project

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Community service is the focus of Lipscomb University’s celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday in 2012.

Dr. Rubin Cockrell

Lipscomb is recruiting students to volunteer at the Red Cross, Feed the Children and local fire halls for an MLK Service Day on Saturday, Jan. 14, and to participate in a freedom march on Monday, Jan. 16. The university also hosted author and motivational speaker Dr. Rubin Cockrell in The Gathering on Thursday, Jan. 12, and will hold other remembrance activities during the holiday week.

Cockrell, author of “The Hidden Curriculum: Life Lessons You Won’t Learn in the Classroom,” spoke at a special Thursday, Jan. 12, Gathering, hosted by the Office of Inter-Cultural Engagement. He discussed how to live out MLK’s dream for America through community service and to encourage students to become better people by volunteering throughout the MLK holiday week.

Now a college professor, Cockrell overcame a troubled youth that had him on the verge of being locked up for federal prison time. Those around him offered him a second chance to turn his life around, which he used as a positive stepping stone to move forward.  Now Cockrell has earned three degrees and empowers people across the country through his company Positive Images & Associates LLC.

"Vision without action is just a dream," he told thousands of university and David Lipscomb Campus School students gathered to hear his thoughts. "It is vision and action together that make the world go round."

He encouraged the students to have a winning attitude about life, noting that "life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it."

"Ask yourself, does my attitude stand in the way of the what God has promised for us," he advised.

In consortium with Belmont and Tennessee State universities, Lipscomb has been awarded a $1,000 grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) via the North Carolina Campus Compact (NCCC) to fund the Red Cross and Feed the Children service projects.

The MLK Service Day is designed to involve students from each campus, for a total of 200, to come together and participate in volunteerism related to disaster relief.

Students will meet at one central location in downtown Nashville for lunch and a kickoff event, then fan out to three service sites across the city where they will spend the afternoon packing boxes at Feed the Children, putting together comfort kits for those in need at the Red Cross, and cleaning and painting at several Nashville fire halls.

To end the day, students at each service site will participate in a time of debriefing and reflection with their peers.  This is designed to put context around the students’ service experience and provide a pause in the day to remember the legacy of Dr. King and the civil rights movement.

The Lipscomb/Belmont/TSU project is one of only 25 in the Southeast, and the only project in Tennessee, to be awarded funding from the NCCC.  Other institutions of note receiving funding are Duke, Virginia Tech, the University of Florida and the University of Alabama.

In addition to off-campus service, students in Sigma Pi Beta, the SALT affiliated service-learning club, will host several on-campus activities during the MLK holiday week as well:

  • A showing of the documentary film “Freedom Riders,” on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. in Swang Center, room 108;
  • An MLK Museum exhibit in Arlo’s on Thursday, Jan. 12, at 10 a.m.-7 p.m.;
  • A birthday party for MLK in Bison Square after the Tuesday, Jan. 17, Gathering; and
  • A showing of the documentary film “Standing on my Sister’s Shoulders,” at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18, in the Swang Center, room 108.

Sign-up sheets for both the MLK Service Day (Jan. 14) and the Freedom March downtown (Jan. 16) will be available in the Bennett Campus Center starting Monday, Jan. 9.