The Shenandoah community dedicated itself to service, community, reflection and diversity, inspired by the life and work of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who once said, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
The Shenandoah Family Stepped Up to Support the Community
Shenandoah made its choice clear through its actions during Martin Luther King, Jr. Week. Approximately 240 volunteers from Shenandoah, the Islamic Society of Winchester, Beth El Synagogue, Burnt Factory United Methodist Church and Opequon Presbyterian Church worked together to package 50,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger. About 200 reflected on King’s legacy at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Service of Remembrance, and 12 built cultural competence at a Navigating Cultural Understanding Workshop. Fifty people viewed the documentary “An Outrage,” at Goodson Chapel-Recital Hall. They also met with the filmmakers to discuss the history of lynching in the American South. A dozen people braved 16-degree temperatures to learn about the African-American experience in Winchester during the Civil War. More than 200 people stepped into the past, via virtual reality, to experience a 1960 lunch counter sit-in inspired by Dr. King’s philosophy.
The Harambee Gospel Choir performed in Winchester on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and later in the week, brought the spirit of unity and justice to a lunchtime audience of about 50 people at the university’s location at Inova Center for Personalized Health in Fairfax. And more 200 than people also volunteered at sites throughout the Winchester area and Northern Virginia, working with children, health and human service organizations, and a local SPCA. People also shared their hopes and dreams for the future and took time out to have meaningful conversations in areas designed for just those purposes.
“I am really proud of what we accomplished together as a community. This week has been one that truly represents to me what makes Shenandoah, Shenandoah.”
—Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of General Education Amy Sarch, Ph.D.
Service Opportunities during Martin Luther King Jr. Week
Service is a concept at the heart of Shenandoah University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Week. Students volunteered in Winchester, Loudoun and Fairfax, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and in the greater Winchester community throughout the week. They worked with children, packaged meals, helped health care organizations, worked with groups that provide housing and other services to people in need, and so much more! However, as these students show, the volunteer spirit extends well past Martin Luther King, Jr. Week at Shenandoah.
Virtual Reality Opportunity during Martin Luther King Jr. Week
In the early half of 1960, students from Greensboro, North Carolina led numerous non-violent sit-ins, inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as part of the Civil Rights Movement. This moment in time is explored in an immersive, 360-degree, virtual reality piece created by junior history major John Oross as part of a Shenandoah University U.S. history class focusing on the Civil Rights Era. Oross worked with the Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning (SCIL) to craft the piece, and through SCIL, some of the university’s acting students, as well as staff and local community members, including local high school students, acted out the scene, which inspired by real-life events.
Fantastic!! Being in the middle of the confrontation brought tears to my eyes. It took those sterile news reports and articles I remember as a kid growing up in Boston, Massachusetts, where I wondered why couldn’t these people get a sandwich like anybody else and turned them into a gut wrenching reality. Congratulations to the team that put this incredibly powerful experience together!”