Every January since 1997, Wayne State has hosted a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tribute luncheon at the Max Fisher Music Center. In 2008, WSU began donating the remaining luncheon proceeds to the Adopt-A-Classroom program.
AAC is a nonprofit organization that provides necessary resources to classrooms across the country at the teacher’s request.
Director of Community Relations, Victor Green, explained the MLK Tribute helps the AAC organization at WSU because sponsors will only request students who attend specific schools to attend the tribute.
“We find out the needs of the schools and then we try to implement it into our Martin Luther King Tribute,” Green said.
Green said that after 2012, WSU expanded their classroom efforts by pairing with AmeriCorps and the Center for Urban Studies to assist in refurbishing schools with beautification and board-up projects.
CUS Member Coordinator Iselda Esquivel explained how they also make safe routes for students to travel on their way to school, which they provided to Thurgood Marshall Elementary last year.
Esquivel said this first entails finding the most commonly walked streets students take. Then, they board up the abandoned houses lining the streets, paint footprints along the intersections and post signs that signify that those streets are safe to travel.
CUS works with the Public Lighting Authority to repair any broken street lights on these safe routes to ensure students with a safer travel to and from school.
Green said they are already planning for the volunteer board-up day that will take place this fall, and the 2018 MLK Tribute is in the works. He anticipates a large 2018 turnout, especially because it will double as a celebration for WSU’s 150th anniversary.
Green said the MLK Tribute, AAC and their efforts to build a stronger community are vital to reconstructing the face of Detroit's public education.
“It brings hope to our youth. It brings hope to our community, and I think it shows that Wayne State really believes in our community and is involved in our community,” he said.
To inquire about volunteering with Community Relations students can visit govaffairs.wayne.edu. To volunteer with the CUS, students can stop by the Academic Administrative building in room 1900 or visit amusdetroit.org.