Stevens Community Honors MLK with Second Annual Day of Service
Stretching beyond campus into the Hoboken community, Stevens hosted its second annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, a day-long event that attracted hundreds of participants from the Stevens community and around Hoboken.
Aisha Lawrey ’99, Training and Certification Global Lead for Education Programs for Amazon Web Services (AWS), kicked off the day in the University Center Complex Tech Flex Auditorium with inspiring remarks about her childhood, education and career path as a Black woman. She also spoke about a volunteer trip to a small town in Ghana, where she and other volunteers brought educational resources to children who were not in school and spoke with local families about the importance of childhood education. She calls that experience, and her sustained volunteerism for and in underrepresented communities, her connection to MLK’s legacy: “I continue to dream, I continue to want to inspire, I continue to lead and I continue to want to make change,” she said.
Following Lawrey’s remarks, on-campus volunteers headed to the Gateway Academic Complex to make cards and write letters for hospice patients at Grace Healthcare Services and elders around the country though Love For Our Elders.
Alpha Phi sorority member Catherine Cheng ’23 participated in the Day of Service alongside a large group of sorority and fraternity members. “Having a large group come together is encouraging. It feels like we’re making a big impact on communities in need,” Cheng said.
In addition to letter-writing, on-campus volunteers collected donations for Round 2 Resources, Garden State Community Development Corp and the Boys & Girls Club of Hudson County. Donations for each charity are still being collected on the second floor of the University Center Complex through Jan. 31.
Off-campus volunteers served at the Hoboken Food Pantry, Lunchtime Ministries and Elysian Charter School, among others.
MLK The day concluded with remarks from New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way, who serves as New Jersey’s top election official, oversees the Division of Volunteerism and supports the state’s arts, culture, history and business communities. Secretary Way shared that she sees her service as an opportunity to not only encourage people to become active voters, but also to “empower them, like MLK, to participate in our democracy.” She added that the best way for people to fulfill MLK’s dream is “by doing something authentically, by being a voice for the voiceless. We can use our power and our influence to pass the microphone and help the vulnerable folk in our community speak up.”
“It was such an honor to work with students, staff, faculty and alumni to create a collaborative community event to honor Dr. King’s legacy and commitment to service,” said Stevens’ Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Liliana Delman. “Through our on-campus and off-campus service activities, our community partnered with 10 local organizations, charities and schools to benefit hundreds of people in Hudson County. Our MLK Day of Service planning committee was overjoyed to see more than 300 in-person and 68 virtual participants for the day’s events. I look forward to seeing how this new campus tradition continues evolving and expanding in the future.”