Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

What are you doing for others?

That simple question calls us to pause, to reflect on our own life and the lives of those around us.

What core principles guide our daily decisions and actions? Does our hectic day‑to‑day schedule allow us to consider, and then incorporate, service to others into our life journey, even on an occasional basis?

What are you doing for others?

Those six words also remind us of a profound truth: that we share this planet with all of humanity. By opening our hearts to serve the oppressed, the sick, and the less fortunate, we not only transform individual lives, we contribute to the creation of a more just and charitable world for everyone, including the generations that follow us.

What are you doing for others?

Martin Luther King Jr. often repeated that question in his sermons. He called it “life’s most persistent and urgent question,” and he lived accordingly, dedicating his life to serving and advancing the ideals of justice and equality.

Dr. King’s example inspired millions to take up his mantle of service. Yet, despite progress during the past five decades in addressing issues such as racism, equitable pay, and equal opportunity, our nation still has much work to do in this regard.

Each of us can do our part to further Dr. King’s dream. His words continue to prod us to take up his mantle.

“Everybody can be great . . . because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

As we prepare to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy this week and next, I encourage you to dedicate a portion of your day to a service project in your local community on Monday, January 21, the national holiday that honors Dr. King. You can learn more about some of these service opportunities through the websites of each of our campuses.

Participating in a service activity on Monday is important, but it is not the most important aspect of the day. Engaging in conversations and fellowship with people you may not know is the greater good that presents itself. Working side by side with individuals of different races, ages, and backgrounds toward a common goal is an essential step in creating the type of community that Dr. King envisioned.

If you are in Pullman this evening, I hope you will join me at our MLK Community Celebration featuring keynote speaker Ibram X. Kendi. Dr. Kendi, a nationally acclaimed author and historian at American University, will speak at 7:00 p.m. in the CUB Senior Ballroom. His remarks, which will be livestreamed, promise to challenge our beliefs about the roots of racism in the world.

What are you doing for others?

Kirk Schulz, President
Washington State University