Every year on the third Monday in January, Americans not only take the holiday and enjoy it as a day off, but they also commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. and his contributions to the civil rights movement. Additionally, Americans take this opportunity to reflect on the work that remains to be done for racial equality in the United States and around the world. This year, Otterbein University has stated that instead of holding its traditional MLK convocation, the Office of Social Justice and Activism, along with other campus offices, will conduct smaller events to commemorate King's legacy, one of which will be the Pack the Mac event. 

The Pack the Mac event is a campus-wide community service event in Martin Luther King Jr.'s honor, with the objective of continuing King's legacy. The Westerville Area Resource Ministry will be on hand to assist by packaging food kits for local children, designing earrings for cancer survivors, making trail mix for the Promise House, and making laundry bags for Church of the Master.

The Westerville Area Resource Ministry, according to Sydney Quynn, a staff member at the Center for Community Engagement and The Promise House, has provided Otterbein students with meaningful ways to engage with and give back to the Westerville community through volunteer opportunities and service projects. Additionally, the Westerville Area Resource Ministry has aided the Promise House by providing Otterbein students with college-friendly food supplies.

“Through participating in engaging service activities, the hope is for students to learn more about issues of social injustice within Westerville, and to inspire them to stay involved in giving back to help build a beloved community here in Westerville”, Quynn said. 

          

Quynn hopes that Otterbein students will become better engaged to the Westerville neighborhood and more educated about some of the social concerns that their neighbors face. The aim is that Pack the Mac will serve as an entry for students to stay involved with the local community and find meaningful ways to give back.

Breanna Teece, a junior biology, environmental science, and sustainability studies triple major with a minor in earth science, claims events like these bring Otterbein together and improve the community.

“Pack the Mac is meaningful to me because it provides an opportunity to work with other students for a common goal of doing something to help the community,” Teece said. 

          

Quynn says the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), CardinalCorps Leaders, Van Sant Fellows, and Promise House Coordinators have all volunteered to help with Pack the Mac. Through directing service stations, recruiting student volunteers, and assisting with set-up and tear-down, these students develop their volunteer management skills. The event also provides an opportunity for students to encourage their peers to stay involved in their community by volunteering at the Promise House or participating in one of the CCE's weekly service initiatives.

The Pack the Mac event will take place in the Campus Center on January 20th, from 2 to 7 p.m. Students are invited to volunteer and, as an added benefit, it will be INST and FYE approved for those who still need to attend an event.