PULLMAN, Wash. — A food drive and a contest for banners carried during the Washington State University traditional Unity March are part of WSU’s 2001 celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Both are sponsored by the university’s Office of Multicultural Student Services, said Herb Delaney, MSS community relations assistant director.

The food drive will be held from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Jan. 15, the national, state and university holiday honoring the Rev. King.

Renowned civil rights leader Benjamin Hooks, a former NAACP executive director, will take part in the Jan. 17 march with campus and community members. He will speak during the 7 p.m. public program, featuring other speakers, awards and music in the Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum.

Canned and nonperishable food items will be collected during the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Food Drive. It is being held for the third consecutive year at Safeway in Pullman’s Wheatland Shopping Center. Donated items go to the Pullman Food Bank. “We’re thankful for the continuing commitment of Safeway and the food bank,” Delaney said.

He said the drive will help support Gov. Gary Locke’s request that state agencies celebrate the King holiday as a day of service. The governor said the day should be a “day on, not a day off.” Those who would like to volunteer to work at the food collection location at Safeway may contact Delaney at 509/335-5711.

Banners — made by individuals and groups and carried during the march — will be judged based on messages focusing on social justice, racial harmony, equality and equity for all. After the march, all banners will be displayed in the coliseum. Awards of $100, $50 and $25 for respective first, second and third places will be announced during the program.

Those who wish to have their banners in the contest must check in with Delaney in front of WSU’s Holland Library at 5:30 p.m. All marchers will gather in front of Holland at 5:45 p.m. Beginning at 6 p.m., they will walk down Terrell Mall, take a left on Stadium Way and stop underneath the pedestrian overpass that connects the Flag Lane area and the coliseum.