Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a national hol­iday from class and work, but sev­eral hun­dred human­i­tar­ians will show up to Northeastern’s campus on Monday to par­tic­i­pate in ser­vice projects and work­shops focused on improving the community.

We like to say it’s a day on, not a day off,” said Kristen Doggett, director of the university’s Center for Com­mu­nity Ser­vice, which orga­nized the King Day of Ser­vice and Lead­er­ship. The annual event draws some 300 North­eastern stu­dents and mem­bers of local com­mu­nity groups and youth pro­grams. Approx­i­mately 50 Boston res­i­dents will par­tic­i­pate in this year’s pro­gram as part of the National Day of Ser­vice, a com­po­nent of Pres­i­dent Obama’s second inauguration.

The annual event is funded through a grant from the Mass­a­chu­setts Ser­vice Alliance and focuses on four core themes: strength­ening com­mu­ni­ties, empow­ering indi­vid­uals, bridging bar­riers, and cre­ating solu­tions. Par­tic­i­pants will take part in three hour-​​long ses­sions, each of which will be focused on one or more of the day’s themes.

Group activ­i­ties aim to engage par­tic­i­pants rep­re­senting a wide range of back­grounds. Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

At last year’s ser­vice day, fifth-​​year psy­chology major Molly Bloom planted sus­tain­able gar­dens, painted murals for local hos­pi­tals, and made sup­plies for pro­grams through Jump­start, a national early-​​education orga­ni­za­tion. She is eager to once again par­tic­i­pate in the program.

These events are impor­tant because they allow North­eastern stu­dents to become more involved in the sur­rounding com­mu­ni­ties,” said Bloom, a Jump­start vol­un­teer. “It’s a chance to make new friends and get involved with new oppor­tu­ni­ties that they may not have known about beforehand.”

Yves Sin­gle­tary, a senior fellow with the Mass­a­chu­setts Promise Fel­low­ship, an Ameri­Corps pro­gram admin­is­tered by North­eastern, took a group of Brockton, Mass., high-​​school stu­dents to last year’s ser­vice day. This year he is leading a panel dis­cus­sion on teen dating vio­lence, an issue he addresses daily through his work with the Boston Public Health Commission.

About 350 people are expected attend this year’s ser­vice day, to be held Monday in the Curry Stu­dent Center. Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

I had a great expe­ri­ence last year, so this time I wanted to return as a facil­i­tator,” Sin­gle­tary said. “I think events like this break down walls—everyone wants to help out the com­mu­nity, and ser­vice days like this really bring people together. You get a chance to address issues that everyone might have some under­standing of, but bringing a wide range of per­spec­tives opens up the dis­cus­sion in ways you could never have expected.”

Reg­is­tra­tion for this year’s ser­vice day is full, but mem­bers of the North­eastern com­mu­nity can add their names to a waiting list. The Center for Com­mu­nity Ser­vice offers vol­un­teer events throughout the year, all of which can be found on its web­site.