Roanoke College is recognizing Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy with week with a number of events, in addition to an environmental service project.
A day of service was held on Monday, which saw work done on a project at the college’s Environment Center, a campus site dedicated in part to environmental justice. Volunteers worked to construct a 290-foot-long cedar split-rail fence around a site that will become a meadow restoration project at Elizabeth Campus on Kime Lane.
The Environment Center is a 10-acre resource that students, faculty and staff are working to establish as an outdoor laboratory for research, habitat restoration and the study of environmental literacy, sustainability and justice.
“Social justice and environmental justice have many themes in common,” Rachel Collins, a biology professor and project co-organizer, said. “Dr. King taught us that important change can come when we make a commitment to make our society better through service. By building this environment center, we’re creating a place for the College and the broader community to come together to work on important environmental issues, including environmental justice.”
The college said in a statement that King’s advocacy for equal rights helped build the foundation for modern-day thinking about environmental justice, adding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency traces the history of the environmental movement back to the 1960s Civil Rights Movement when advocates worked to shine a light on public health dangers.
The college’s day of service project was co-sponsored by its Office of Multicultural Affairs, Center for Civic Engagement, Environment Center and Roanoke College Buildings and Grounds.
In addition to the service project, the college is holding a series of events on the life and legacy of King.
“Dr. King was a multifaceted leader who championed access, equity and civility,” Teresa Johnson Ramey, vice president for community, diversity and inclusion, said. “We are proud to be celebrating his leadership and humanity. Please join us for this month’s series of programs and learn more about why his influence remains relevant and inspirational.”
The schedule of events is as follows:
Friday, Jan. 20: Roanoke College is inviting the community to take part in a simulated Civil Rights March, which was designed by students at the college, that will guide them through stations sharing the history of King’s life. Guided marches will be offered at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the upper level of the Colket Center. Each tour will take 20 minutes.
Saturday, Jan. 21: Student fellows in the Roanoke College Office of Multicultural Affairs will lead the painting of a memorial piece on the Roanoke College Rock.
Tuesday, Jan. 24: “From Myth to Man: Martin Luther King, An Interpretation by Ira Knight” will be performed and will be followed by an audience discussion. The one-man show is free and open to the public. It will be performed at 4:30 p.m. at Antrim Chapel.