NMU freshmen might have experienced something new Monday morning: the beeping of their alarms. While many schools and universities across the country have Martin Luther King Jr. Day off, Northern is not one of them.
Northern is, however, making efforts to give recognition to the late civil rights activist with a string of campus events throughout the week. But does it call for enough involvement when students are focused on their first week of classes?
Taking the day off of school is not necessarily the right answer. A day off of school for a college student often calls for a large dose of sleep and alcohol. That’s probably not what Martin Luther King Jr. had in mind for his legacy.
Instead of carrying on with classes as normal or taking the day off completely, students should be encouraged to spend MLK Day as a day of service to the community. Michigan universities such as Michigan State University and University of Michigan-Dearborn already encourage their students to participate in a day of volunteering on MLK Day.
Northern should give its students a chance to learn in a more nontraditional manner on MLK Day. Learning takes many forms, one of which is in the traditional classroom environment. Others happen everywhere else, from the grocery store to the post office.
On MLK Day, Northern students could engage in a personal learning experience by attending various speeches and symposiums on campus.
Students could also emulate the values that MLK advocated by giving back to their community by volunteering. There are many opportunities to give back to one’s community. The success of Make a Difference Day each year at NMU clearly illustrates this.
Northern already gives students great opportunities to learn and reflect during the week of MLK Day by holding various events around campus. For this, Northern should be applauded. Hopefully, students will take full advantage of this opportunity and make themselves and their communities better.
Although a day off from school on MLK Day is not entirely necessary, it would give students an entire day to learn and emulate the ideals that the civil rights leader discussed many years ago.