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Eighth Annual Day of Leadership and Service Celebrates Life of Dr. King

Stacey Robertson, SUNY Geneseo provost and vice president for academic affairs

Stacey Robertson, College provost and vice president for academic affairs, delivered the keynote address at this year's Day of Leadership and Service.

GENESEO, N.Y. -- SUNY Geneseo’s "Day of Leadership and Service" celebrated the work and teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 15 with a series of inter-generational and interfaith discussions, workshops, and community outreach projects. Some 153 participated in the day’s activities, including Geneseo students, Office for the Aging seniors, community volunteers and school-age students.

During welcoming comments, President Denise A. Battles emphasized the strong tradition of community service that permeates the College and community.

“Today, we join together to not only recognize Dr. King’s commitment to social justice and global peace but to reflect on our collective responsibility to work towards a more equitable society,” said Battles. “We also gather to celebrate the many accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff and community partners in the contributions to strengthening our College and communities we serve. Community service is a proud Knight tradition.”

The day-long program included a keynote by Stacey Robertson, College provost and vice president for academic affairs, who addressed “Using History to Make Slavery History.” Robertson is co-director of the national organization “Historians Against Slavery.” She presented background on past and present-day slavery and actions that can be taken to stem worldwide slavery through such areas as education, marketplace consciousness and judicial action.

Local resident Lulu Westbrook-Griffen, in her address during lunch titled “Agents of Change: Respect, Reflect & Remember,” shared her experience of being held at age 10 for 45 days in a dilapidated jail cell with a group of young girls. The girls were unlawfully imprisoned for protesting against a whites-only movie theatre in Americus, Georgia in 1963. The Gospel Choir at Geneseo also performed during lunch.

Students and senior citizens who attended the event participated in one of five GOLD (Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development) breakout workshops.  Later in the day, they volunteered to work on service projects such assembling hygiene kits for food pantry clients, backpack lunches for K-12 students, or fleece blankets for veterans. Some baked cookies for local first-responders, made non-skid socks for patients, or crafted greeting cards for soldiers serving overseas.

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