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Community Service Shifts to Virtual as Ursinus Honors MLK

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ursinus Center for Advocacy, Responsibility and Engagement (UCARE)—like so many other offices on campus—was forced to reimagine their strategy. “The way that service looks has definitely changed significantly,” said Katie Turek, associate director of UCARE.

“The pandemic has forced us out of our comfort zone and made us think more creatively as to how we can better support our partner organizations virtually. We have had students help organizations with grant writing, data analysis, website development, and social media.”

During the summer, UC Live (Ursinus College Leaders in Vocational Exploration) hosted its first batch of virtual internships. More than 20 students provided support by performing tasks such as translating materials into Spanish for greater accessibility for nonprofit organizations; or researching communities in need of food resources so that the Food Trust can expand its program into those areas, including Philadelphia and Boston. The remote internships were so successful that the program, which is funded through the Harold C. Smith Program in support of the Ursinus Quest core curriculum, added another cohort of students in the fall, and this semester’s cohort was recently selected.

“There’s still a lot of service taking place, and it’s definitely needed at this time,” said Turek. “It’s been a long pandemic, so people are craving that human connection. It’s something that is really essential to the wellness of communities, so trying to fill in the gaps and have that connection has been a focus of ours.”

As part of the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, the college is once again partnering with the Perkiomen Valley School District. On Monday, January 18, Ursinus faculty and staff presented “lightning talks” live on Zoom and also presented workshops on sustainability, resume writing, the college admission process, and at-home science projects.

MLK Week activities also include a candlelight vigil honoring Dr. King on Wednesday, January 20, at 4:30 p.m. in Olin Plaza, and the dedication of the college’s first free speech wall in Lower Wismer. Click here for more information about MLK Week activities