NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin State University Office of Multicultural Affairs is encouraging the campus and Nacogdoches communities to submit community work projects for the seventh annual MLK Day of Service scheduled for Monday, Jan. 16.

The deadline to submit a project is Friday, Dec. 9. Volunteers are needed and can sign up to work now through the morning of the event.

"OMA's reason for hosting this event annually is to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. through service," said Veronica Weaver, OMA director. "The event has done very well in past years and has brought the campus and Nacogdoches communities together for a great cause."

SFA will partner with the African American Heritage Project to help restore the Clay House, the former Zion Hill First Baptist Church parsonage, and with SFA's Food for Thought to help organize the on-campus food pantry's inventory. Other service projects will be conducted at public parks, private homes and a variety of other sites. Hundreds of student volunteers are expected to take part in projects such as painting and landscaping. Participants will receive a free lunch and event T-shirt.

People wanting to participate have several opportunities to do so.

"Community members wanting to get involved can submit projects for students to work on. Volunteers must be able to complete the project in four hours and the needed major supplies must be provided," Weaver said. "Community, faculty and staff members also can sign up to be site mentors and assist the students with projects."

Helena Abullah, a Nacogdoches community leader, will serve as the keynote speaker during the event's opening ceremonies. She will speak at 11 a.m. Jan. 16 about the effects of the Civil Rights Movement.

Congress passed legislation in 1983 to commemorate the life of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. In 1994, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which falls on the third Monday of January, was named a national day of service and is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

The first MLK Day of Service at SFA in 2010 focused on helping Nacogdoches schools prepare for the new semester. Each of the first few years focused on different projects, including painting benches, creating leadership-themed art projects, revitalizing landscaping, and assisting at nursing homes and senior centers. Any type of work project will be considered this year.

For more information, contact Weaver at (936) 468-1073 or email