Last week, the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement at East Tennessee State University provided students and faculty with the opportunity to honor the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is an annual initiative observed by the country and ETSU.

Ally Waters is a graduate assistant for the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement. This was her second year organizing the event at ETSU.

“At ETSU, students and faculty are encouraged to register to volunteer through the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement,” said Waters. “The Office will then arrange the volunteers to serve at various local non-profit organizations that are making a daily impact in our community.”

Over the years, the amount of days to volunteer has increased. This year, students, student groups and faculty were divided into three groups to serve on three different days: Jan. 12, Jan. 15, and Jan. 20.

“This year was a success,” Waters said. “This is the first year with three days of service and partnerships with New Student and Family Programs and Volunteer ETSU.”

Over the three days of service, 150 students and faculty signed up to serve with community partners that included Second Harvest Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Coalition for Kids, Girls on the Run, Tree Street Garden, Appalachia Service Project, Adult Day services and several others.

“Multiply the 150 students and faculty by 3 hours of service for each person,” says Waters. “That is a lot of service provided for these non-profits, who are always in need of volunteers!”

Don’t worry if you missed this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Days of Service. There is always next year to sign up since it is an annual project. Community partners vary every year, so it’s a unique volunteer opportunity to serve your local non-profit organizations and agencies. For more information, visit