ATLANTA — More than a dozen members of the Georgia State men’s track and field team participated at the Oakland Cemetery Restoration Day on Monday, Jan. 16.
The community service project is organized monthly by the Historic Oakland Foundation in an effort to preserve and promote the local burial ground.
The student-athletes put on their gloves and picked up their tools to plant flower bulbs, mulch shrubbery and clean up overgrown grave sites.
That the Panthers volunteered on Martin Luther King Jr. Day was appropriate considering that the cemetery lies adjacent to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in downtown.
Located just blocks from the Georgia State campus, Oakland Cemetery was constructed in 1850 and is owned by the Atlanta Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs.
Since 2002, the Oakland Foundation has worked to carry out an extensive restoration project. The city depends on volunteers to maintain the area in its original Victorian-era appearance.
Besides the burial sites, the cemetery also includes a visitor’s center and museum shop. Visitors to the cemetery can see the final resting-place of 27 Atlanta mayors, eight Georgia governors, author Margaret Mitchell and golfer Bobby Jones.
Oakland Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Georgia Register of Historic Places, and is a Landmark District for the City of Atlanta.
The women’s track and field team also volunteered Monday at the Blank Family YMCA as they assisted with the Samaritan’s Feet efforts along with the Georgia State men’s basketball and football teams.
These efforts contributed to the overall Georgia State athletics effort of reaching over 5,000 hours of community service each school year. That total equates to more than 15 hours per individual student-athlete.