Students dedicate a day of service for Martin Luther King Jr.

The quietness of the early morning was broken Friday as dozens of students gathered to volunteer for Cal State Long Beach’s Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day.

Students gathered Friday morning at the Southwest Terrace of the University Student Union to participate in a day of service hosted by The Office of Multicultural Affairs in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Several weeks ago, students registered to volunteer at one of four different organizations from the community. These areas included the Long Beach Organic, Food Finders, Long Beach Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army.

“We want to honor [Martin Luther King Jr.’s] name, his legacy,” said Christian Lozano, assistant director for the office of multicultural affairs. “What better way to do that than going out into the community and doing service?”

When students first arrived at the University Student Union to check in, they each signed a waiver and were given a custom-made black T-shirt with a picture of King on the front.

Students were invited to grab fruit, bagels, juice or water before finding their way to the determined locations. Presenters motivated participants to make the most of the event by encouraging them to keep Martin Luther King Jr. in their thoughts.

Dean of students Piya Bose and James Sauceda, founding director for the office of multicultural affairs, spoke on the correlation between community and the teachings of King.

The two speakers referenced the late reverend’s famous 1968 sermon, “The Drum Major Instinct,” a speech that stresses the importance of serving one another.

“There is no tsunami we can’t top with love,” Sauceda said. “There is nothing we can’t overcome with a moral purpose.”

After becoming acquainted with each other, volunteers, with lunch boxes in hand, made their way to their assigned spots.

Some students heard about the service day through word of mouth. Khoi Pham and Gabriel Quick, hospitality management senior and aerospace engineering junior, are members of Phi Kappa Psi. They heard about the opportunity through their fraternity and were both assigned to one of Long Beach Organic’s gardens.

Rockale Bowman, a senior human development major, volunteered as part of her organization, the Black Business Student Association. Rockale and other members joined students stationed at the Salvation Army, on the corner of Long Beach Boulevard and East 31st Street, where they sorted through food donations and packed items into boxes to be dispersed to those in need.

We made 288 boxes of food in one day,” said Bowman. “This means more families will be able to receive food.”

Another student stationed at the Salvation Army was senior psychology major, Erica Chavez. Chavez said she volunteered as part of an agreement for her Coca-Cola Scholarship, which requires that recipients attend community service opportunities. Even though Chavez volunteered to fulfill a requirement, it is something she would consider doing again in the future.

“I like the idea of volunteering with a group,” Chavez said. “When you work alone, it looks like you didn’t do much because you are only one person.”

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