MLKSA embraces autism awareness

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

Embodying this goal on campus are the members of the Martin Luther King Leadership program, which has been cultivating the intelligence and character of members since 1970. The program offered the “Discover the Spectrum” event on Wednesday, April 8.

Maria Mangru, a freshman biology major, attests her involvement in “the oldest and most prestigious servant leadership program at Seton Hall University.”

MLSKA carries on the legacy of its namesake by providing lessons in leadership for its student members.

“Each year, MLKSA selects exceptional students for partial tuition scholarships and provides them with management and leadership development skills,” Mangru said. “Scholars also learn how to execute programs and events from conception, to development and implementation.”

The development of this leadership, she said, is maintained by a required 40 hours of annual volunteering. Volunteering includes the mentoring of younger students, as members are placed in a “variety of settings including middle schools to offer motivational programming and after school classroom reinforcement or conducting urban environmental policy workshops,” said Mangru.

The “Discover the Spectrum” event entailed the program’s support and awareness towards the Autism Spectrum Disorder organized by the freshmen members of MLKSA. This night of amusement and awareness included a speaker from Autism Speak, an educational short video about autism spectrum disorder and interactive activities where students were able to give back to their community as well as learn the common therapy techniques that children with autism use.

Attendees to this COMPASS event also received priority points and one hour of community service through the DOVE organization. The program also featured free food as well as giveaways at the end of the night to help raise money for Autism Speaks.

“Discover the Spectrum” is one of many events and activities the organization utilizes to instill leadership skills. Malik Dye, junior business major and treasurer of MLKSA, attributes much of his leadership skills to his involvement of the club.

“The organization has taught me invaluable skills and lessons such as time management, communication and program planning while also providing me with a family/ support system while on my college journey,” said Dye.

Mangru looks forward to more opportunities from her involvement with MLKSA, which she states has made the, “transition from high school to college seamless.”

Kelly Zarnowski can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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