University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings extends MLK Day events into week of historical experience

January 12, 2009



Kathy Kotecki, Office of Community Involvement, 657-1660
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


Inauguration, lecture a part of tribute to King’s Legacy


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Paying homage to the experience of historical events and honoring the power of individuals to make a difference, faculty, staff and students at Montana State University Billings will expand its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event next week to include experiential learning and service opportunities.


The events will include film presentations, a special lecture and a chance to experience life as participants in the famous underground railroad during the American Civil War era. 
power of one logo vers 3.eps
MSU Billings has long used the national bell ringing ceremony on MLK Day as an educational community event. The additional events are designed to further engage students and the community in a more diverse way, said Kathy Kotecki, director of the Office of Community Involvement at MSU Billings.


“We really wanted this to be more than a one-day event and show how everyday people can make a difference,” she said.


“The Power of 1: The Legacy of MLK at MSUB,” begins on Monday, Jan. 19 with the annual bell ringing ceremony and ceremony and concludes on Saturday, Jan. 24 with a university-led service project. All events are free and open to the public.


The events are coordinated by a coalition of faculty, staff and students. Groups involved in planning include Multi-Cultural Student Services, Residence Hall Association, the Department History and Native American Studies, Department of Political Science, Student Activities Board, United Campus Ministries and the Office of Community Involvement.


Following are highlights of the events:


Monday, Jan. 19
Martin Luther King Jr Ceremony

9:45 a.m. / Peaks to Plains Park
National Bell Ringing Ceremony begins at Peaks to Plains Park at the MSU Billings main campus, 1500 University Drive. Following the bell ringing, participants are invited to proceed to the Student Union Building for other ceremonies and the annual MLK Day program. The keynote speakers this year are adults and youth who recently participated in the Fort Robinson Break Out Spiritual Run. The run, now in its 10th year, pays tribute to a Jan. 9, 1879, event when about 130 sick and starving Northern Cheyenne broke out of their prison barracks in Nebraska to try to return home to Montana.


Tuesday, Jan. 20
History as it happens

9:30 a.m. / Student Union Building and College of Technology
Televisions will be set up in the Student Union Building and commons area at the College of Technology where students, staff and others can watch events unfold of the inauguration of Barack Obama as 44th president of the United States. Following the formal inauguration ceremonies, Dr. Brian Reed, professor of political science at MSU Billings, will speak on “Musings of a Semi-Progressive Southerner” in the SUB atrium. The talk is free and open to the public. Also on Tuesday, an inauguration-themed lunch will be provided by Sodexho Food Services in Rimrock Café in the SUB


Wednesday, Jan. 21
Experience the underground railroad

2:45-5 p.m. / Liberal Arts Building
The underground railroad project is an experiential endeavor in which participants travel through a variety of simulated encounters that reflect what 19th century slaves may have experienced while on their journey to freedom. Participants will encounter such experiences as learning how to travel by reading the stars, listening to tradition black slave music, escaping from bounty hunters and many more simulated experiences. At the end of their “journey to freedom” a group dialogue will occur in which participants may share their interpretations and experiences while also be educated on underground railroad facts.


Thursday, Jan. 22
Listen to MLK's dream and hear a call to action

6:30 p.m. / Liberal Arts Building 148
Discussion of King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech followed by march to Petro Theatre to view historic footage of the speech. Free and open to the public.
Saturday, Jan. 24
Service Saturday
- 9:45 a.m. to noon:
Staff, students and faculty and members of the public invited to meet in the Student Union Building for a community service project. Free.


For more information on “The Power of 1” events at MSU Billings, contact the Office of Community Involvement at 657-1660.


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