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Big Event draws record number of volunteers and job sites

Published: Sunday, March 28, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07

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Jeramie Heflin

Kevin Cravey, Sara Reams, Becky Glazar and Katie Hemper help a couple clean their garden of roots and replace soil.

When they could have caught up on sleep or on studying, almost 13,000 students volunteered Saturday morning to give back to the Bryan-College Station community and residents through Big Event.

The Big Event, which is the largest one-day, student-run service project in the nation, set records in participation this year.

"Close to 13,000 students have signed up to say ‘Thank You' to over 1,450 residents of Bryan and College Station," said Emma Fisher, Big Event outreach executive Friday. "These are both record numbers."

The Big Event was started in 1982 through the work of Joe Nussbaum, then vice president of Student Government Association. The 2010 event marked the 28th year of the
program at A&M.

Big Event staff work throughout the year to collect job requests from residents of Bryan-College Station and assign them to students who sign up to participate. The four-hour event included jobs such as painting, hauling brush, raking leaves and weeding garden beds.

"We moved dirt. It was fun helping the community," said Kyle Molitor, freshman civil engineering major. "It's nice to see somany people come together, giving back and getting involved."

The slogan of Big Event, which is a part of the Student Government Association, said the event is designed to say one big "Thank You" to the community residents who support Texas A&M and Aggieland.

With almost 13,000 students representing close to one quarter of the student population, the size of the event represents the commitment of Texas Aggies to service and providing for the needs of others, students said.

"It was inspiring to drive down the road and see so many groups of Aggies working," said Devin Smith, freshman biomedical sciences major. "We're one of the largest universities, so it's cool to see everyone coming together to give back instead of breaking off into our groups."

Residents expressed gratitude to the students who came to help. Molitor said the family his group was helping provided nachos, while Smith said her group received brisket.

"It was hard work, but they fed us," said Daniel Dobbins, freshman chemical engineering major.

Students were encouraged in morning tasks with the Big Event Kickoff, which featured the band NELO as well as speeches from Student Body President Kolin Loveless, Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin and Neil Bush, son of former president George H.W. Bush.

Slovocek's sausage provided free sausage for the students who attended, and Pepsi provided free drinks, including varities of their "Throwback" products featuring real sugar.

Yell leaders led the students in a yell practice, and the Parsons Mounted Calvary fired a cannon to signify the start of the day.

"It was the first time I had done a yell all semester," Dobbins said. "The sausage was also good."

 

Volunteerin 2011
The next Big Event will be in spring 2011, and students can take part by volunteering individually or with an organization. Students can apply for the Big Event Committee in the fall, or apply to be a staff assistant in November.

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