Otterbein Students Follow Example of MLK with Day in Service

Posted Feb 04, 2022

By Payton Kaufman ’24

Each year, Otterbein students selflessly honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a day dedicated to service. On Jan. 20, 85 students volunteered at the annual Pack the Mac event in the Campus Center lounge.

The event began in 2016, and has expanded each year to include other Westerville-area community partners. The coordinator of this year’s event is Sydney Quynn, Otterbein’s AmeriCorps volunteer in Service to America (VISTA).

“Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. through a day of service upholds Otterbein’s commitment to community engagement, and racial and social justice,” Quynn said.

Quynn’s work is part of a national call-to-action to honor King through service. AmeriCorps organizes these service events across the country.

“Sydney makes a significant contribution to the national movement through her efforts to engage Otterbein students, faculty, and staff in thoughtful service and reflection on our campus,” Center for Community Engagement Director Melissa Gilbert said.


The community partners this year were the Westerville Area Resource Ministry (WARM), Church of the Master, Promise House, and Ears to You. Students prepared food kits for local children, designed earrings for women recovering from cancer, made trail mix for the Promise House, and created laundry bags for the Church of the Master.

Thanks to WARM’s ShareBacAPac program, over 300 weekend meal bags were packed for Westerville area children in need.

One group of volunteers was the Otterbein women’s lacrosse team. The team packed trail mix, which was made accessible to Otterbein students at the on campus resource center the Promise House.

“My lacrosse team volunteered together so that we could give back to the community as a team,” sophomore nursing major Carli Rigel said. “The event really helped me to see how connected Otterbein is with its surrounding community.”

Otterbein regularly has volunteer opportunities for students to participate in its surrounding communities and throughout central Ohio.

“Our hope is for Otterbein students to become more connected to the Westerville community and more knowledgeable about the social issues their neighbors experience,” Quynn said. “Our hope is that Pack the Mac is an entry point for students to stay engaged with the local community and find ways to give back that are meaningful to them.”