Geneseo Leadership and Service Program to Honor Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

GENESEO, N.Y. - SUNY Geneseo is remembering the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a "Day of Leadership and Service" program Jan. 17, the 25th anniversary of the federal holiday commemorating the life of the civil rights leader. Students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to hear a keynote address by a Geneseo distinguished teaching professor of history, participate in afternoon service projects and attend leadership workshops through the college's highly regarded GOLD program (Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development).

"Dr. King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and opportunity for all, and taught us that everyone has a role to play in making America what it ought to be," said Tom Matthews, director of leadership education, development and training in Geneseo's Center for Community. "Our ‘Day of Leadership and Service' focuses on the impact we can make as individuals and communities in focusing on the needs of others, especially in troublesome economic times."

William Cook, distinguished teaching professor of history at Geneseo, will deliver the program's keynote address, "Walking in the Footsteps of Giants: My Pilgrimage to Atlanta, Selma and the Mississippi Delta," at 10:15 a.m. in MacVittie College Union Ballroom. His address is free and open to the public. That will be followed by five GOLD workshops at 11 a.m. for program participants: "Leave the World Better Than You Found It," taught by Fatima Rodriguez Johnson, coordinator of multicultural programs and services at Geneseo; "Community Mapping," taught by Wes Kennison, faculty fellow for international studies; "Volunteerism Engagement and Service," taught by Kay Fly, coordinator of student volunteerism and service learning; "Social Media for Seniors," taught by reference instruction librarian Tracy Paradis; and "Servant Leadership," taught by Tamara H. Kenney, assistant dean of students.

The service projects begin at 12:45 p.m. in the MacVittie Ballroom and will focus on three activities for 400 home-bound senior citizens in Livingston County: making birthday and Valentine's Day cards and letters; assembling emergency kits; and creating dry soup mixes. Volunteers for the Livingston County Office of the Aging will deliver the cards, letters, emergency kits and soup mixes throughout the winter to home-bound seniors.

The Corporation for National and Community Service leads the annual nationwide MLK Day of Service, working with the King Center in Atlanta and thousands of schools, nonprofit groups, faith-based organizations, and businesses. Projects are taking place in all 50 states and include preparing and delivering meals, refurbishing schools and community centers, collecting food and clothing, signing up mentors, reading to children, promoting nonviolence, and more.

Geneseo will continue its MLK commemoration March 3 when Geneseo alumna Ysaye Barnwell, a member of the internationally renowned African-American ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock, will lead a community sing from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the college's MacVittie Union Ballroom. Barnwell has been a vocalist in the all-woman ensemble since 1979 and composes many of the group's songs. The event is free and open to the public.

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