Alyse Harris ’19 spent five hours last Saturday at the New Roots Charter School in Ithaca, sanding and varnishing tables, creating motivational posters, and sorting a teacher's book collection. She enjoyed working at the high school so much that she has decided to volunteer as a tutor for the rest of the semester.
"I'm very passionate about service, and it's really, really hard to make lasting change and lasting impact when you only show up one time," said Harris, a communication management and design major from Denver, Colorado.
Harris was among 80 Ithaca College students who fanned out across Tompkins County to clean churches, organize library books, and deliver used furniture as part of the college's 11th annual Martin Luther King Day of Service.
The event ended on campus with a reflection led by Todd Bernstein ’79, the founder and director of the annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, the oldest and largest such event in the country.
Bernstein told the students that their service should continue beyond one day of volunteering. "Dr. King was a champion of action 365 days of the year," he said. "We call it the Day of Service, but to really have an effect in the community, this has to be a springboard to ongoing commitment to civic engagement."