Mountain Day of Service

Honor Martin Luther King Jr. this year by reaching out and offering service

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was officially established as a federal holiday in 1983 with the intention to honor King’s memory and his civil rights activism. In 1994, the King Holiday and Service Act was signed into law, declaring Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national day of service.  

Today, many groups and individuals around the country use the holiday as a time to not only remember King’s legacy, but to engage with their community and make the world a little bit better. Martin Luther King Jr. Day may be a day off from school and work, but it can be a day “on” for connection, service, and giving back.  

If you’re interested in participating in the holiday this year but don’t know where to start, Chief Diversity Officer Charles Gibson, III has some advice: “Try to learn something from someone who is different from you. Do something outside your comfort zone. The more that we talk to each other and the more that we find we have in common, the more we’ll be able to come together and get our country and the world closer to the ‘perfect union’ Dr. King ultimately talked about in his ‘I Have a Dream Speech.’” 

Opportunities for reaching out or serving others are abundant in the High Country, including right here on campus. Whether you’re looking to fill a few hours every week or you just want to get to know your classmates better, you have many options to choose from. Consider taking some time today to find ways you can make a difference. 

On Campus 

One of the top reasons students come to Lees-McRae is because of the strong sense of community. Our small size makes it easy to build close personal connections with your professors and fellow students, and even a single person can have a huge impact.  

Order of the Tower 

The Order of the Tower consists of 25 exceptional students who serve as the college’s top ambassadors. Responsibilities include assisting with events like Open Houses, the Honors and Awards program, and Commencement and acting as host when groups visit campus. Students in good academic standing who are interested in gaining leadership skills and positively represent the college are invited to apply.  

Applications can be picked up from Savanna Buff’s office and are due by Feb. 21.  

Common Ground 

Like its name suggests, the goal of Common Ground is to help students find the “common ground” that unites everyone. The group, which is led by Pastor Ted Henry, meets weekly at the Historic Banner Elk School for food, games, and conversation. Common Ground also occasionally organizes off-campus group service projects, such as volunteering with Hospitality House.  

Join Common Ground on the Den to stay informed of upcoming events. 


The student-run club W.O.K.E. (Wearing Our Kulture Eminently) is also dedicated to helping students learn from each other and create a more inclusive environment for everyone. The group holds discussion meetings weekly. In the past, W.O.K.E. has also teamed up with Outdoor Programs for informative Workshop Wednesday events and fun activities like camping trips.  

Join W.O.K.E. on the Den to stay informed of upcoming events. 

Green Team  

The Green Team focuses their efforts on sustainability and protecting the environment. Activities include regular campus cleanups, working in the on-campus community garden, and organizing outdoor adventures.  

Join the Green Team on the Den to stay informed of upcoming events. 

Off Campus 

Volunteering with local organizations is a great way to give back to the community, but there are personal benefits as well. You can build your networking and leadership skills, learn how different organizations run, and get more experience to put on your resume. The following organizations are always open to bringing in committed volunteers.  

Hunger and Health Coalition  

The Boone-based non-profit assists local individuals and families who are food insecure or struggling to afford necessary medicine. The coalition currently distributes food and medication through a drive-thru system. Volunteers are needed weekdays from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. to prepare meals cooked by staff, pack pantry and produce boxes, wash medication bottles, and serve clients. Volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes and a mask.  

Email or visit the Hunger and Health Coalition website to sign up.  

Feeding Avery Families 

Feeding Avery Families also provides food to individuals and families in need. Currently, they need volunteers who can unload food deliveries, stock shelves, prepare food for clients, and load client cars. The work is done in three shifts: Thursday and Friday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. 

Sign up to volunteer on the Feeding Avery Families website. 

Banner Elk Elementary 

The elementary school needs volunteers to help with various projects and could always use more people to pitch in. The men’s basketball team, for example, previously set up a Lunch Buddy program with the school, where the student-athletes would regular have lunch with the elementary students.  

Interested individuals should reach out to Banner Elk Elementary Principal Justin Carver. Volunteers need to pass a background check before being cleared to work.  

Avery Humane Society  

Projects at the Humane Society range from cleaning kennels to helping with adoption counseling to socializing kittens. Students in majors like Pre-Veterinary Medicine or Biology can especially benefit from the extra experience working with animals and observing human-animal relationships, but this is a good opportunity for anyone who cares about animals.  

Email to learn more. 

By Emily WebbJanuary 17, 2022
Campus LifeCommunity