The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Residents reflect on selfless service

Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Roberta Pugh, Class of 1975, has participated for 30 years, and will be one of over 2,600 residents served by over 21,000 Aggies at Big Event this year.

As the largest student-run service project in the nation, The Big Event at Texas A&M leaves an impact on the numerous residents served during the one-day event.
With over 21,000 Aggies participating in Big Event this year, over 2,600 hundred residents will benefit from selfless service. Projects such as yard work, painting and window washing serve as ways of showing the appreciation towards the residents in the Bryan-College Station area.
Students in The Big Event serve all residents who fill out a request form online to participate, according to Madeline Saiter, outreach executive for Big Event and a supply chain management senior.
“One thing [Big Event staff] want people to know is that we don’t serve houses based on their socioeconomic status,” Saiter said. “We do this because it’s our way of saying thank you to the community.”
Saiter said The Big Event Staff usually encourages students to sign up as soon as possible every year, so they are able to serve all the residents they can.
“The reason we make a big push for everyone to sign up is because it directly impacts another house that gets off the waitlist, so if seven more people sign up that’s another house that gets off the waitlist,” Saiter said.
According to Saiter, many of the residents who fill out the online request form do so every year.
“A good handful of the residents who participate have been doing it for years,” Saiter said. “Some of them before I’ve been alive”.
Roberta Pugh, Class of 1975, has been participating in Big Event for 30 years. She began participating a year after her husband’s passing in 1988.
“Having [students] come out was a good example for my children to see and to get involved with,” Pugh said. “You think they would not want to work, because they are being made to work, but the case is just the opposite. They are really willing and want to do it”.
Pugh said Big Event introduces the students to new perspectives as they journey outside of campus.
“We all get into it, and I like being able to give them the opportunity to come out to the community to see the other world besides A&M’s campus,” Pugh said.
Pugh said she enjoys conversing with the students as they assist her with lawn care. Because she is aware of the time commitment the students give, Pugh said she likes to ensure the students are well fed.
“I talk to them, I visit with them, I check on them, I share my stories,” Pugh said. “Back in the early days they came by 8 o’clock in the morning, so I’d have a continental type breakfast done up and some cupcakes.”
Ted Hopgood, Class of 1965 and former Yell Leader, said Big Event allows the Aggies to appreciate the importance of serving the community.
“In my eyes, the giving back to the community and sharing sets a precedence for Aggies to remember as they go about their lives and go back to their home towns that the community is important, and when they pitch in a lot of work gets done and a lot of good feelings arise,” Hopgood said.
Hopgood said as he gets older, maintaining his one-acre tract of land gets more difficult for him, and he wouldn’t be able to do it without the help of the students.
“We have a lot of trimming to do of trees, and bushes, and spreading of mulch,” Hopgood said. “We spread a pallet every year of about 70 bags of mulch on various flower beds and around trees. As the years go by, the work becomes harder and harder for yours truly, and I’m not sure we could get by without the great support from Big Event”.
Hopgood said one of his favorite things about Big Event is seeing the aftermath of all the students’ hard work.
“I think the record now is over 60 bags of trash [in my yard], and I’m always amazed at how much is done,” Hopgood said. “It’s fun to see all the work get done, and it’s fun to see the obvious pride the Aggies take in doing the work.”

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