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Commitment to serve

Dean Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm

"The time is always right to do what is right." ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This past Monday, many of our #MasonNation participated in the National Day of Service in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Per our university's Center for Culture, Equity, and Empowerment (CCEE/@MasonCCEE) social media post, "it's the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service to encourage all persons to give back to their communities through volunteering.” Some of us dedicated the day to service, while others took time for reflection and remembrance. 

The CCEE also expressed the hope that "doing the 'work' can take on many forms; and by embodying a love ethic beyond care, we can strengthen our communities."

The group offered many suggestions so each of us could commit to serving our community. As we begin the semester, I encourage us each to identify an organization or cause that matters to you personally and find a way to support its mission. Here's food for thought...

For me, that cause is displaced people from my home country of Venezuela. Since the end of last semester, I have been working to sponsor a number of Venezuelan refugees to come to the US. More than seven million people have been forced to leave the country over the last two years. I am motivated to do this by trying to help individuals who are in dire conditions of safety and health and who wish to come to the United States searching for a better life and the opportunity to contribute to society.

If your life is very full right now or you're not sure where to start, here's a service option that I mentioned in a previous blog: The Zero Hunger Resolution.

President Washington recently shared a video about the Patriot Pantry Challenge, a charge to our Mason community to help stock the GMU Patriot Pantry with 5,000 pounds of non-perishable food and hygiene items between now and February. All donations will support our fellow Patriots who are facing food insecurity.

Imagine if we each brought a few cans of food or personal hygiene items with us when we come to campus next week. We can be difference makers. Next week, our team will place labeled boxes on the Fairfax and SciTech campuses to collect your donations. And our Mason Science Kindness Ambassadors (and any volunteers who might like to assist) will help bring the food and items we've donated to the pantry by the end of the month.

Such collective service for our communal well-being is so important. These small and ongoing acts of kindness add up to a culture of community to which we aspire. 

Regardless of how you choose to serve, I also encourage you to join our community for an Evening of Reflection on January 30, 2023 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Dewberry Hall. (You can register to attend on Mason360). This will culminate the formal activities Dr. King encouraged us to undertake, yet it may also be a way for you to reflect on your service goals for the year while celebrating the many ways we strive to do what is right.