Earlier this spring semester, the Office of Civic Engagement hosted the 13th Annual MLK Day of Service event dedicated to celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Students and volunteers gathered bright and early at the Student Center to spend their “day off” giving back in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. As stated by Civic Engagement at Georgia Tech, they “offered the chance to make it a ‘day on, not a day off,’ partnering with Atlanta community organizations to connect, serve, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a ‘Beloved Community.’”
As part of the Day of Service event, Garry Harris and the Center for Sustainable Communities, a signature partner of Serve-Learn-Sustain, organized the “Street Teams for Energy Efficiency and Climate Resilience” project. The Street Teams project was one of 7 projects arranged for the Day of Service. The mission of the campaign was to promote energy efficiency in Atlanta households, and a team of over twenty-five volunteers traveled to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park to take on one of Atlanta’s most significant issues - economic disparity and energy burdens.
The Street Teams project brought together students, faculty and community volunteers to educate, raise awareness, and move residents, in particular those in the most underserved and under-resourced communities, to action to save energy and reduce energy costs. While at the historic park, the team sought to “meet people where they are'' and encourage clean practices. To advance this, several materials related to saving energy in households were handed out to inform Atlanta residents about recent legislation, such as the Clean Energy Tax Credits, to help them benefit from installing energy efficient equipment.
As part of the Day of Service, students were exposed to unique, historical perspectives and venues related to civil rights and social justice. These include the Civil Rights Walk of Fame, Eternal Flame of Hope, King Center, Heritage and Horizon Sanctuaries, and other features of the MLK National Historic Site. In addition, Daniel Blackman, Regional Administrator for the EPA’s Southeast Region (District 4), was on hand to speak directly with students about climate and environmental justice and resilience.
As stated by Dr. King, “Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.” The Georgia Tech and Atlanta communities were able to unite to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and live in the testament of his words by answering his Call to Action on MLK Day.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University System of Georgia, or the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.