By Addison Howard, Viking Fusion News Reporter

Despite the spread of COVID-19’s new variant, Berry students were still able to honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and serve the Rome community through a variety of on-campus projects.

On Monday afternoon, students participated in various volunteer activities and crafts with the Berry College Volunteer Services (BCVS) program to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

150 people attended this first BCVS service-day of 2022, spending the afternoon using their time and talents to partner with local organizations such as Restoration Rome and Hope’s House.

Due to the 30-degree weather and several partnered sites being limited in volunteer capacity because of the pandemic, the BCVS team decided to keep service indoors in the Krannert Ballroom.

Students contributed through activities like crocheting plastic mats for the homeless, writing thank-you notes for hospital workers, crafting dog toys from fabric, and cleaning the International Cultural Center in the Krannert Underground. Several on-campus organizations and teams also came to serve together. The women’s volleyball team, the Lettie Pate Whitehead scholars, and residents of service cottages all gathered to help.

Grettie Reifenberger, a student supervisor for BCVS, said her team had to navigate through the pandemic and the wintery weather by keeping service on campus. Despite their challenges, the team is hoping to make their service days more frequent and casual.

“We decided to make more smaller service days when we weren’t able to go off campus, and we were just not able to do as many activities,” Reifenberger said.

In the past, before the pandemic, there were typically two large service days in a school year–one in the fall for 9/11, and one in the spring for MLK Day. BCVS now hopes that having to stay on campus can increase the frequency and turnouts of volunteer “Service Saturdays.”

Cecily Crow, director of student activities and supervisor of BCVS, said her team is happy to collaborate with students, clubs, or sports teams interested in finding opportunities in the community to serve.

“Between those Service Saturdays, it doesn’t mean service is just on one Saturday once a month, it’s needed all the time,” Crow said. “We are happy to connect interested students with our community partners.”

Posted by Viking Fusion

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