Written for The Argo by Esmeralda Rivera
On Monday, February 17, the Spring 2023 semester kicked off with the 19th annual MLK Day of Service. Student organizations and community members came together to work on a variety of volunteer projects. Hosted by the Office of Residential Life and the Office of Student Development, along with many other student organizations on campus, the MLK Day of Service saw large masses of about 700 students, staff, and community members. Volunteers of all ages arrived at the Stockton campuses to participate in over 30 different projects stationed across Galloway, Atlantic City, and Hammonton.
Organizations such as TALONS, Los Latinos Unidos, Tri Sigma, Chi Upsilon Sigma, Sigma Gamma Rho, and many others banded together to create a variety of projects for the volunteers to work on. Service projects were stationed both on-campus and off-campus in all three locations. The projects involved interacting with the community, watching presentations, making arts and crafts, and/or serving food. Several other projects provided opportunities to help and donate to people in need.
One of the organizations, Los Latinos Unidos, prepared brand-new cases full of pencils, pens, crayons, erasers, pencil sharpeners, and other supplies for second-grade students in need of them for the new semester. Volunteers were also given markers and colored paper to write encouraging letters to the children receiving the supplies.
Another project was held by TALONS and the National Latin Sorority, Chi Upsilon Sigma (Corazones Unidos Siempre) in which they made Jars of Inspiration for local high school students. The volunteers relaxed and interacted with the sorority sisters and TALONS, painting the jars and filling them with notes the recipients will be able to open every day for a bit of encouragement. The organizations hoped that these jars could help the students get through their mornings.
Jessica Vasquez, a junior majoring in Education, is taking the Inclusive Student Transitions course to become a TALON. She was happy after participating in her first event as a new TALON, stating, “I got to work with my new TALON team, and we had a great time painting Jars of Inspiration.” She instantly connected with the other TALONS and appreciated the cause they were helping.
Christopher Lipari-Pazienza, a Graduate Coordinator at Housing 1 and 2, was one of the organizers primarily responsible for the event. “The MLK Day of Service honors Martin Luther King Jr., who believed that coming together as a community is how community change happens… altogether, we had about 650+ students, faculty, staff, community members, and alumni. They went to 32 different projects, and I’m happy with that turnout,” Pazienza stated.