During VCU’s MLK Celebration Week, we reflect on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. In the spirit of his dedication to community, justice and service, here’s a special edition of Questions, Commons and Concerns sharing the ways that members of our VCU community strengthen and support the communities around them.
Brian Donovan: This is Questions, Commons and Concerns from VCU Student Commons and Activities. I’m Brian Donovan.
Donovan: To students at VCU, community means coming together to do whatever you can to help those around you. VCU Students come from many different walks of life and are proud members of a number of different communities, both near and far. Whether it be in a student community here on campus, local groups that engage in supporting charitable causes and fellowship, or within communities abroad, students contribute to their respective communities in many different ways. Inspired by parents, loved ones, and one another, they believe it is important to find a way to give back and support the communities they are a part of.
Donovan: Here are just a small sample of the communities VCU students engage in.
:: I’m a member of the Black Awakening Choir at VCU.
:: I volunteer with children with autism for the Autism Awareness Society.
:: Finance majors- We have our little group or clique of people who are getting their Master’s in Finance.
:: The Life Church.
:: There’s a big Ethiopian community here- in Virginia, as well as at VCU. We have an Ethiopian Student Union here.
:: I am part of the Arts community here at VCU.
:: I did a lot of volunteering when I was back home, but here I did do a little volunteering for the Children’s Museum.
Donovan: The word “community” carries a different meaning to each and every one of us. How do you define “community”?
:: It’s about helping whoever you can, even if you don’t really know them.
:: It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. It doesn’t matter if you come in late. It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday. It really just- everybody is your family. You can go to anybody and rely on them, no matter what the situation is. And you don’t have to talk to them every single day, but if you need them, they’re always there for you.
:: Community means to me pulling together, working together, basically like one big family.
Donovan: There are a myriad of ways our students contribute to, and raise awareness for, the causes and people within their communities.
:: The holiday season’s all about giving so, I bake desserts and I pass them out to people that are less fortunate.
:: Advocating for human rights with Amnesty [International] is very wholesome, it’s some that I enjoy doing, so- just giving back to the community, even on a small scale, is very satisfying to me.
:: I just and serve as a greeter and make sure people feel welcome, and just try and be as open and inclusive as possible when they come in; just because I know it can be hard, especially as a stranger and if it’s you’re first time there and I really want to make sure that everybody feels part of the community.
:: So, I usually like to volunteer at soup kitchens or homeless shelters- throughout the year, not just at Christmas because I think it’s important to dedicate time all throughout the year.
:: Each semester we hold concerts that just kind of showcase what we’ve been working on. That’s a chance for us to interact with the community and also just be able to reflect on everybody’s efforts and their dedication and seeing people get to interact with that is a really rewarding experience.
:: I always try to make it my duty before I eat on Thanksgiving to try to give back by either going to a local church- I’m from South Carolina so, I try to go somewhere, find something that I can do before I like, throw down on some food, to give back to people who are less fortunate.
Donovan: From holding events to raise awareness for and uplift others to volunteering time and giving back in any way they can, VCU students do everything they are able in order to support their communities. To quote the words of Coretta Scott King from her address at Georgia State University in 2000, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members…” The actions of VCU’s students speak volumes for their greatness, allow your actions to do the same.
Donovan: This has been a special episode of Question, Commons and Concerns from VCU Student Commons and Activities. Thank you for listening.