Yesterday, the nation honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King may always be most remembered as a passionate fighter for civil rights and equality, but he was also concerned with volunteerism to improve everyone’s life. In recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Barack Obama and the King family asked Americans to participate in a National Day of Service. Whether you participated or not, there’s no reason to limit King’s spirit of community service to one day a year. All people, especially the students who worked tirelessly to elect Barack Obama, should transition their efforts to activism and work toward a better community.

King was an adept community organizer who successfully harnessed his supporters to work toward greater goods. With this in mind, it was suggested that Martin Luther King Jr. Day be recognized as a National Day of Service. This way, King’s legacy could inspire people to recognize this day as one in which everyone should give back to their community in some meaningful way.

It’s certainly worth recognizing the amazing things that volunteer efforts on campus have accomplished in the past few months. Obama’s campaign mobilized students in a more substantial way than any other campaign had in decades. Students believed in the good that an Obama presidency could do for the nation, and they volunteered their time and energy to help elect him.

Now that these efforts have been successful, the responsibility of healing the nation cannot be solely placed upon Obama’s shoulders. Campus activism must be maintained in order to make our community a better place. It’s up to us not to lose sight of our goals now that such successes have been achieved.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Obama spoke of asking Americans to do more to serve their country than simply expecting good to come as a right of citizenship. That passion should be re-directed toward cleaning up parks, helping the homeless or any other job that will help out communities around us. It is a continuation of the work that Obama was encouraging his supporters to do all along.

There are plenty of places in the Ann Arbor community that could benefit from increased community service. Things as simple as an hour at a soup kitchen or volunteering at a daycare can do immeasurable amounts of good. Volunteering can be done right now and will produce immediate results for society.

A National Day of Service is a great way to honor King’s call to make the country a better place for everyone. But we don’t need to wait for next January to start volunteering again. Students must channel the spirit of activism that propelled Obama and continue our efforts to improve the country, starting with the Ann Arbor community. Though it may only be officially recognized one day of the year, there is no reason why we can’t treat every day as a National Day of Service.

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