Clean-up effort a major part of MLK Week of Service

January 17, 2014 | Leave a Comment

Clean-up effort a major part of MLK Week of Service

BUIES CREEK — Combing the campus and other nearby natural wonders for trash has been a part of Michael Larsen’s environmental science curriculum for nearly a decade. A few years ago, the annual clean-up became part of Campbell University’s MLK Week of Service, honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Before long, more and more volunteers joined Larsen’s students, and the effort took on a new life of its own. They’ll be at it again all five days next week, Jan. 20-24, braving the cold to not only make Campbell a nicer and cleaner place, but to learn about the importance of recycling and being good stewards of the environment.

“We’ve been able to hit the cross country trail, the natatorium, that stretch along the Buies Creek Cemetery, Lake Small, the nature trail … we’ve basically been cleaning a variety of areas in and around campus that get awfully messy over time,” said Larsen, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. “We have fun doing it, and it’s by no means difficult science, but it does integrate well into our learning objectives — the effects reducing solid waste has on the environment and examining our roles as Christian stewards to honor God and his creation.”

The clean-up, which is still taking volunteers, is one of the many opportunities available for students, faculty and staff at Campbell during the MLK Week of Service. Annual events like the blood drive and voter registration round-up will be joined by new opportunities like tutoring children at the Baptist Fellowship of Angier on Wednesday and the Community Garden prep work on Thursday, according to Community Engagement Coordinator Trent Matthews.

The week will end will a showing of the 2000 film, “Remember the Titans,” a story of a racially integrated football team in Virginia in the early 1970s.

But Larsen’s campuswide clean-up is the only daily activity throughout the week, and last year, his students and volunteers collected a total of 389 pounds of trash and 188 pounds of recylables — a total of 672 pounds of litter. Approximately 42 percent of all the materials were recyclable (and were thus recycled). Trash ranged from old tires in nearby creeks to a bucket filled with concrete. The most common items were aluminum cans, paper and plastic and glass bottles.

“I’ve been involved in similar projects like at Raven Rock State Park or other state waterways, and we find some strange things,” Larsen said. “But it’s all very much a learning objective, and the students and volunteers feel pretty good about what they’ve done when we’re finished.”


The MLK Day of Service is a national event that answers the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to serve one another through peace, love and service. Each year, Campbell University celebrates King’s legacy and his work by hosting various guest speakers and service opportunities throughout the week. This year’s schedule of events include:

MONDAY, Jan. 20

  • Blood Drive (Rumley Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
  • ENVS Cleaning the Park (meet at McLamb building at 2 p.m.)

TUESDAY, Jan. 21

  • Voter Registration (Academic Circle from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
  • ENVS Cleaning the Park (meet at McLamb building at 8 a.m. and/or 2 p.m.)


  • Tutoring children at Baptist Fellowship of Angier (Iglesias Church from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.)
  • ENVS Cleaning the Park (meet at McLamb building at 11 a.m.)


  • Garden Prep in the Community Garden (meet at Community Garden on Kivett road at 4:00pm)
  • ENVS Cleaning the Park (meet at McLamb building at 8 a.m.)

FRIDAY, Jan. 24

  • Movie: “Remember the Titans” (Turner Auditorium at 9 p.m.)
  • ENVS Cleaning the Park (meet at McLamb building at 11 a.m.)

How can you participate?

Sign-up to volunteer by clicking here or by registering at the info desk in Student Center. If you are interested in serving on this day and would like more information, please contact Trent Matthews at [email protected].