Events lined up Monday to Wednesday for Ferris MLK celebration

Ferris State University students marched through the campus quad during the 31st Annual Freedom March and Student Tribute, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., last year. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS — Celebrating the legacy and work of Martin Luther King Jr. will last more than one day, with multiple events next week on the campus of Ferris State University.

A variety of events are planned, including the the annual Freedom March at 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The march begins and ends at the University Center Rankin Atrium Lounge. Following the Freedom March, attendees will enjoy remarks from campus leadership, recognition of the MLK Student Legacy Award winners and light refreshments.

Students, faculty, staff and greater Big Rapids-area community members are invited to participate in the Freedom March, said Michael Wade, assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Student Services.

“We will meet in the Rankin Atrium, of the University Center, at 4 p.m.,” Wade said in a press release. “There will be some reflections offered by Ferris administrators at that time, then we will set off on the march, which crosses the campus, before returning to the University Center. We are excited to have the campus community walk in tribute to Dr. King’s legacy.”

The annual Student Tribute, providing individuals and registered student organizations the opportunity to make presentations on the MLK holiday, will follow the march at 6 p.m. on Monday. This event and all others on the celebration schedule are free and open to the public.

The university has celebrated the MLK holiday since 1987, and offered faculty and staff an in-service program to reflect on themes related to social justice and civil rights on the King holiday since 1995. Faculty and staff members will be welcomed for the 24th annual in-service program from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday in Room 202B of the University Center.

Wade noted the Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services (CLACS) has collaborated with the OMSS to promote area community where students can volunteer on Monday, the Martin Luther King holiday.

“MLK Day is recognized as a national day of community service, and we feel it is important for our students to volunteer as part of the celebration,” Wade said. “Students can visit CLACS or the MLK website for more information on how to RSVP with the particular volunteer site that interests them.”

A discussion entitled “I Was Here in ’68,” is set for 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Room 203 of the University Center with Ron Snead, who will be discussing the climate of Ferris in 1968, a reflection of Dr. King’s legacy and what lessons can be learned to address social justice issues of today. This discussion will be moderated by Ferris professor of history , Christian Peterson, Ph.D.

“Former Board of Trustees Chair Ron Snead will offer his perspective on what was happening on our campus during the spring of that year,” Wade said. “His oral history will provide an opportunity to learn about the impact of that very important moment for Ferris students of all backgrounds and experiences.”

“MLK, In His Own Words,” a room of reflection will be found in UBC Room 112,and the Tunnel of Oppression, available in University Center, Room 116, will both be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  on Tuesday, Jan. 16 and Wednesday, Jan. 17.

The Tunnel of Oppression is the featured exhibit for the celebration. The exhibit is an interactive display that highlights contemporary issues of oppression designed to introduce participants to the concepts of oppression, privilege and power. Participants this year will view a series of videos, with themes including but not limited to Black Lives Matter, LGBT rights, feminism, intersectionality and sports activism.

Celebration activities conclude on Wednesday evening, Jan. 17, with a presentation from activist, poet and speaker Monti Washington. The event is being offered in collaboration with Entertainment Unlimited, the university’s campus programming board. Wade said the event is scheduled from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom.

“‘Which Lives Matter?’ is Monti’s theme,” Wade said. “Our committee felt he offered some important insights and a timely portrait of how things are at this time. We hope the audience can take in his message and then seek to make a difference, both on campus and in the greater community.”

The MLK Celebration website offers complete details on the event schedule. OMSS asks those seeking assistance to attend any celebration event contact their office by email or by calling (231) 591-2617 at least 72 hours prior to the particular session. The MLK Celebration is sponsored by the Diversity and Inclusion Office, the Office of Housing and Residential Life Harmony Project and Entertainment Unlimited.


Posted by Emily Grove

Emily is the Pioneer and Herald Review crime and court reporter, covering crime in both Mecosta and Osceola counties. She can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (231) 592-8362.

Leave a Reply