MLK Day of Service is a national initiative to make the recognition of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a “day on, not a day off.” The UMSL Students of Service (SOS) student organization provides materials necessary to complete the project (within budget and capacity), and recruits almost 200 volunteers annually. Projects include painting, building privacy cubicle walls, cleaning, reading to students, tutoring, and landscaping. Volunteers learn that small changes can have a huge impact within their own neighborhood. Past projects undertaken on MLK Day of Service have included painting, landscaping and remodeling houses for low-income families and homeowners, tutoring elementary school students, and upgrading school classrooms and resource centers.
Students, staff, and faculty are invited to serve as site leaders. Students are paired together with staff or faculty members to work with a non-profit or community organization to develop the project and devise a plan to complete it. This also provides an opportunity to foster relationships outside of the classroom or office setting.