An estimated record of 22,500 Texas A&M University students are scheduled for volunteer work on 2,700 jobs in the communities surrounding the campus in the annual Big Event service project on April 2.
The students planning the Big Event this year say they have a goal of making it the biggest and best yet.
The service project began in 1982 with just six Aggies who volunteered to clean up a local cemetery as a way to thank the Bryan/College Station community that welcomed them when they came to study at Texas A&M.
In the last few years, increasingly large numbers of Aggies have participated in Big Event. They take on a multitude of jobs ranging from cleaning yards to painting to making repairs.
Already the largest such service project in the nation, Big Event has expanded to 110 other schools across the nation and now to schools in Spain, Australia, Germany, Pakistan, and Italy.
Bright and early Saturday, legions of Texas A&M students will gather in The Zone outside Kyle Field and, with the firing of a cannon by the Corps of Cadets’ Parsons Mounted Cavalry, will pick up paint and brushes, rakes, shovels, and other tools and fan out across the Bryan/College Station community to tackle their assigned jobs.
The student leaders who have worked on this year’s Big Event and helped expand it to a historic level say they are ready for the big day and add that they “can’t wait to see the Aggie Spirit in action.”
Last September, Big Event was presented the Governor’s Higher Education Community Impact Award for 2015. In announcing the award, officials with the award committee and the OneStar Foundation noted that Big Event is so embedded into the undergraduate culture of Texas A&M students that many of them continue their civic engagement into their professional and personal lives wherever they reside.
Big Event began expanding from its very beginning because the idea of selfless service and giving back the community has a wide appeal to Aggies.
Joe Nussbaum, a 1984 Texas A&M graduate, was one of those first six Aggie volunteers at the first Big Event, and he had a hand in its evolution. In 1982 he was a leader in Texas A&M’s Student Government Association, along with his friend, Evan Secor, also of the Class of 1984. Another friend, Becky Bristol ’86 (now Becky Nussbaum), served as the first Big Event publicity director.
Aggies are always passionate about helping wherever they can and, once the idea of Big Event took shape, Nussbaum says other student organizations wanted in on the service project. In fact, when it came time to plan the second Big Event, there were more volunteers than there were projects, so Nussbaum and the others began hunting for additional jobs that could be done.
Big Event comes to fruition each year with a committee of more than 200 students spending a year planning the monumental undertaking with a meticulous attention to detail, leaders of the project note. They have a mission clearly defined by a simple statement: One big day….one big thanks…. one Big Event.
For more information visit bigevent.tamu.edu