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LU remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with day of service

Planting seedsLamar University’s students, faculty, staff and community members came together on Saturday, January 21 for a day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy. The volunteers dedicated their Saturday to serving others through the LU Community Garden, the South Park Community Garden, a Habitat for Humanity home construction site and the Southeast Texas Food Bank.

“Students today realize how lucky they are in living in the U.S., and this gives them an opportunity to help others and have fun doing it,” said Alicen Flosi, Director of Sustainability and instructor for the College of Business.

Volunteers weeded and moved bricks to rebuild a flowerbed in the LU Community Garden then planted a variety of fruit and vegetable seeds at the South Park Community Garden, which will provide healthy food options to those in need.

Community Garden work“A lot of people in this area don’t have access to fresh food and this is a way to help them. Initially, it makes them happy, but it has the long-term effect of improving their health and eventually their success in life,” said Beaumont native Bette Paredez, a nursing major.

“I’m from India and I did a lot of farming there. I was happy to find gardening here where I can meet new people and take a break from my busy schedule, but it also gives me immense satisfaction to know that my work is going to people who really need it,” said Rajeswar Babu Ramesh, a Beaumont student earning a master’s in chemical engineering.

At the Habitat for Humanity site, volunteers painted walls and trim, and at the Southeast Texas Food Bank, they sorted, weighed, and sealed food items that will be distributed to those in need.

LU Garden work“I used to be focused on my own career, but as time has passed, I’ve started to realize that there’s a lot more to life. Serving the community really does give you a sense of purpose,” said Zanthia Smith, associate professor for the Department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.

The day of service was the last of three events held during the week that began with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day organized by Lamar University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion honoring the memory of Dr. King. The first event, a “Unity and Peace Candlelight Service,” reminded the community of Dr. King’s vision for a world united in the belief of equality and dignity. At the second event, “Unity and Peace Panel Discussion: Is the Dream Still Alive?” panel members representing the past, present, and future reflected on the life of Dr. King and his impact on society.

Sorting at Food Bank“The Day of Service at Lamar University helps to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by encouraging members of our communities to model his strong commitment to selfless sacrifices for others’ well-being through a heartfelt service to those who are less fortunate than us in life—regardless of their socio-cultural background or the situation they find themselves in their life journeys,” said John Bello-Ogunu, Vice President for Global Diversity, Inclusion, & Intercultural Affairs.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion works with students of all backgrounds to provide meaningful cross-cultural interaction to promote cultural awareness and develop students as active, productive and collaborative members of the community.