AU Traditions: MLK Celebration
BY SUSANNA SPENCER
2 MIN. READ
Anderson University is rich in campus traditions, and one of them is filled with a myriad of events, making for a weekend-long, community celebration — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
A federal holiday in the United States since 1983, MLK Day is a commemoration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his fight for social justice, and efforts to continue his work today.
Since 1988, AU has officially hosted and participated in a number of structured activities throughout the weekend leading up to the Monday holiday. One particular activity is the city of Anderson’s Peace and Justice March, in which hundreds of people from the city of Anderson and the AU campus community together walk the one-mile journey from Reardon Auditorium to Paramount Theatre to keep MLK’s dream alive: to unify people of all races, both in America and throughout the world.
This past January, due to the pandemic, in-person MLK events were canceled. However, the AU campus still celebrated by reimagining the Peace and Justice March and hosting a virtual event called “A Million Steps for Martin.” Through this challenge, the campus community was encouraged, along with alumni and friends, to collectively walk one million steps in honor of Dr. King.
In normal years, other campus events that accompany the march include various service projects throughout the city of Anderson, an MLK chapel service honoring Dr. King’s legacy, a prayer gathering for all students, staff, and faculty, a peace and justice-themed movie feature, and a number of campus forums designed to educate, stimulate thought, and facilitate healthy discussion.
While MLK Day is a paid federal holiday, members of AU’s MOSAIC initiative to build an interculturally responsive campus view this holiday as “not a day off, but a day on.” According to committee member Juanita Taylor, “We take this time to truly commemorate the mission and work of Martin Luther King by coming together as a community to honor his service through our participation in these events.”
While this celebration remains a strong part of the university’s MLK Day tradition, its true purpose is to bring people together with humility, a willingness to listen and learn, and a desire to do our part in keeping Dr. King’s dream alive and — one day, hopefully — seeing it realized.
Anderson University is on a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service, offering more than 60 undergraduate majors, 30 three-year degrees, 20 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports, alongside adult and graduate programs. The private, liberal arts institution is fully accredited and recognized among top colleges for its business, computer science, cybersecurity, dance, engineering, nursing, and teacher education programs. Anderson University was established in 1917 in Anderson, Indiana, by the Church of God.