Day of service to mark inauguration


On Monday, Jan. 19, NMU students and Marquette community members will join with others nationwide in an official “day of service.”

The event, created as part of President-Elect Barack Obama’s inauguration festivities, was created to encourage Americans to volunteer their time. The day is part of a larger Obama administration program called Renew America Together.

According to the event’s Web site, the program “is not just about stepping up to serve for a single day, but rather to make a continued commitment to serving our communities throughout the year.”

Monday also marks the observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Many prominent public figures have expressed a desire for Martin Luther King Jr. Day to be celebrated with volunteerism.

NMU sophomore Jason Morgan is serving as the local coordinator for the day of service. Morgan said the event should set the correct tone for Obama’s upcoming presidency.

“It’s a proper start to Obama’s presidency,” Morgan said. “It’s a new tone where Americans get back to helping Americans.”

Morgan added that he felt it would be no problem getting students at NMU to volunteer on Monday.

“NMU students are known for (their) volunteerism,” he said. “The students here volunteer a lot, so this is just a way of focusing that energy into one day.”

Associated Students of NMU (ASNMU) President Hobie Webster also joined in helping with the day, which he referred to as, “a great idea.”

Webster ran for president last spring on an 11-point platform, one of which was securing Martin Luther King Jr. Day off as a campus holiday. He has suggested that a compromised solution would be to have a campus wide “day on,” where students and professors can be excused from class to engage in volunteer activities.

Webster said that though students wouldn’t have an option to be excused from class this year, it would give him and the administration a chance to see how successful a “day on” type program could be.

“I found out about this a week ago and I’ve been wanting to get NMU involved with something like this already. I jumped on it and got ASNMU to support it,” he said. “We’ll be able to get an idea how effective this is. In a very short window of time we have gone from not having an idea what this would look like or an idea of how effective this is. In a very short window of time we have gone from not having an idea what this would look like or how it would run, to actually being able to see if it will work.”

Webster added that he felt a day dedicated to service might serve as a better reminder to the purpose and origins of the day than a simple day off of school.

“I hope that by commemorating the day with service we are able to better remember Dr. King and all that he stood for,” he said.

Morgan said there was some concern that the event would turn into a partisan affair. However, he said that the national organizers have been stressing unity and non-partisanship.

“There were concerns raised about this being seen as a partisan event, but what this really should be about is unity,” Morgan said. “It’s actually about bringing people together, whether they supported Obama or not, and helping each other out.”

Local volunteer projects include helping at St. Vincent de Paul, working with Habitat for Humanity, Room at the Inn, the Beacon House, AMCAB/Headstart, the “W” at K.I. Sawyer, the Vista Theatre, Marquette County Humane Society and participating in an MLK reading for area 4th grade students.

Students wishing to volunteer should contact Jason Morgan at 989-751-6287 or e-mail him at [email protected], or contact regional director Marcella Krupski at [email protected] or by phone at 847-867-8817.

Students can also register online at, by clicking on the “find events” tab to see a list of events in the Marquette area.