Portland, January 21st, 2013.  Hats off to Oregon Campus Compact for bringing together 1,000 students from nine local colleges on MLK Day. Students spent time sorting, cleaning, and distributing gently used children’s books in the Portland area. In total, college students donated 4,000 hours of volunteer time and distributed 40,000 used children’s books into homes, schools, and libraries. Students were from Concordia University, George Fox University, Lewis & Clark College, Portland Community College, Portland State University, Reed College, University of Portland, Warner Pacific College, and Western Oregon University.

Students at the rally get ready to serve and honor the life and legacy of Dr. King!

Students at the rally get ready to serve and honor the life and legacy of Dr. King!

Oregon Campus Compact Associate Director, Tina Shantz, at the mic giving directions and getting students excited to serve.

Oregon Campus Compact Associate Director, Tina Shantz, at the mic giving directions and getting students excited to serve.

Students pose for a picture after leaving the rally and heading to their service sites.

Students pose for a picture after leaving the rally and heading to their service sites.

College students begin sorting through gently used children's books. Throughout the day, 700 students organized, cleaned, and helped distribute 40,000 books to low-income homes, libraries, and schools in Portland.

College students begin sorting through gently used children’s books. Throughout the day, 700 students organized, cleaned, and helped distribute 40,000 books to low-income homes, libraries, and schools in Portland.

Children's books being sent into the Portland community.

Children’s books being sent into the Portland community.

The service projects prompted volunteers to reflect on the value of education and how poverty impacts learning.

“It’s really exciting to bring together a large group of college students to respond to the community’s needs,” said Concordia University’s Assistant Director of Service Leadership, Amy Dickerson. “MLK Day is impactful because it inspires students to serve not only one day but also to continue their service to the community throughout the year. By uniting colleges and universities to serve together, students become a part of something bigger than each of their individual campuses.”

College students in Oregon are experienced with serving their community. Oregon ranks eighth in the country for college student volunteerism according to the Corporation for National & Community Service report, Volunteering and Civic Life in America. Oregon’s students are challenging those who believe they are disengaged and apathetic by showing up (in record numbers) to serve and prove through action that they are making a difference in their community.

Other popular MLK events  included:

• “Keep Alive the Dream,” a celebration for all ages produced by the World Arts Foundation, Inc., this event featured speakers and performers from various civic and social community organizations.

• The Annual MLK Remembrance and Work Day for the Northeast Portland Backpack Lunch Program, which provides lunches for children at Woodlawn, King and Harvey Scott schools.

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