by Jon Bosworth
Walking to class on any given day I can’t help but notice that I’m surrounded by one thing: opportunity. When you’re in high school considering where to go to college, many schools boast that they provide you with opportunities to better your future. While this is undoubtedly true at an institution such as Oregon State, it is not the type of opportunity I’m talking about. I’m talking about the type of opportunity that inspires generations of humans and brings people together. Among the thousands of students at OSU, there is opportunity to shape the world through serving and helping others.
There are days when I wake up and spend far too much time complaining about my situation. Whether it’s grumbling about all of the reading I have to do, making a fuss over the food at the dining hall, or even wishing I didn’t have to attend so many meetings, I do this far too often. I must remember today there are millions of children wondering if they’ll have food on the table. I must remember tonight there are hundreds of thousands of Americans without a home. I must remember tomorrow many communities will be in worse shape than they were today. And most of all I must remember how lucky I am.
Chances are if you’re reading this you’re pretty lucky too. Regardless of the state of our lives I believe, and Oregon State University believes, in the importance of service. Next Monday, January 19th, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day of remembrance and celebration of one of the greatest leaders our country has ever seen. Dr. King stressed themes of peace, love, and service, saying that “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” As part of United We Serve—the President’s national community service initiative—we are called to participate in a day of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Here at Oregon State University, we take this call very seriously and all students are encouraged to take a few hours out of their day to help improve their community. Whether this means serving a meal, cleaning up a park, or merely spending time with someone in need, there are endless opportunities in Corvallis to serve. As with previous years, the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) has put together many service activities at various times. On Saturday January 17 the city will join together to “strengthen communities, empower individuals, and bridge barriers.” By signing up you are provided a light breakfast and lunch as well as an experience to remember. To sign up through the Center for Civic Engagement please visit: sli.oregonstate.edu/mlk and pick a project that best suits you.
Whether you sign up to serve on Saturday or any other day, it’s crucial that you engage with your community. Through my time at Oregon State I’ve seen a union of students, faculty, and community members come together for a common cause in bettering the world around them. The MLK Day of Service is another opportunity to do just that: improve the world one volunteer at a time.