On Jan. 18, Student Government Association will help students celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the help of Campus Ministry Commission and Campus Service Commission. The events, which will take place throughout the day, will feature speakers, a video presentation, and a variety of service projects to be carried out on Saturday, Jan. 16.

Brita Shoemaker, chair of the MLK Day committee, said that this year the event will focus on different aspects of community, from diversity to service.

“We’re always talking about how we need to get out into the community,” she said. “Through a community there’s change—it takes a community to change a thought process.”

Students will have the opportunity to work with the YMCA, YWCA, New Sudanese Community Association Moorhead, and the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center.

This year, the service projects will be taking place the weekend before the event because, unlike in years past, Cobbers do not get a day off from classes for MLK Day this year.

Kaitlin Weis, who is organizing the chapel service for MLK Day, thinks that this is a good thing. Weis points out that the motto for this year’s national MLK day Web site, which also plans service projects is “Make it a day on, not a day off.”

“Instead of pushing aside what we normally do, we’re adding to it,” she said.

Sheila Borgerding, who is organizing the day’s service events, said that working in the Fargo-Moorhead community was a logical addition to the MLK Day celebration.

“MLK was devoted to service,” she said. “It made sense to add that component.”
Brogerding also believes King recognized the role of community in changing the views of a society and points out that it isn’t something that can be done by just one person.

“A lot of times we try to just do it ourselves, but soon we find we need others,” she said. “We don’t just go through the world alone.”

In addition to serving in the area, SGA wants to give students the opportunity to experience the diversity of the Concordia community. Speakers this year will represent the psychology and women’s studies departments, Concordia alumni who attended the college during the Civil Rights Movement, and the greater Fargo-Moorhead community. The keynote speaker, Brent Scarpo, a nationally-known transformational speaker, will be presenting two talks about diversity and living in community.

Brogerding thinks it’s important to hear from so many different people because each person approaches MLK Day in a different way.

“There’s so many different ways of thinking,” she said.

Even chapel will feature variety. Karis Thompson, a Concordian alumnae who is currently acting as the Community Organizer for a young-adult ministry called The Project F-M, will be giving the homily. Thompson said it is important for faith to be a uniting factor in a community because a religious community shouldn’t pick its members, which unfortunately is often the case.

“As a Christian,” she said, “I don’t get to decide who is and isn’t a part of the body of Christ.”

Thompson believes that people in communities tend to stick to pre-existing groups because it’s “the path of least resistance.” She said that she loves watching people who normally wouldn’t interact make a connection.
“I see people beginning to recognize or appreciate being around people who aren’t like them,” she said.

Junior Brandon Jones, who is coordinating music for the MLK chapel service, put together a live music group of students for the event. Rosie Savegeau, Kayla Cox, Isaac Ydstie, and Jake Nelson will be playing with Jones, who said that he picked them because these students come from a variety of musical backgrounds.

“I wanted a diverse group of people who hadn’t worked together in celebration of MLK,” Jones said.

Weis agrees.

“I think it’s celebrating the differences we all have,” she said.

Students will be able to sign up for service events Jan. 11-14 from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. in the Atrium. Transportation to events will be provided

Mary Beenken

I am a senior English writing major and political science minor at Concordia College, but I originally hail from Fort Collins, Colorado. I have a deep passion for humanitarian aid and the power of the written word. I am currently the Editor-in-Chief of the 2011-2012 Concordian, though on occasion I also write and take pictures. Dream job: hybrid freelance journalist/human rights lawyer.

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