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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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As The Big Event celebrates 35th year, community members reflect on student help they’ve received

The+Edwards+family%2C+located+in+Bryan%2C+signed+up+for+Big+Event+for+the+additional+help+with+yard+work.
Photo by Photo by Kevin Chou

The Edwards family, located in Bryan, signed up for Big Event for the additional help with yard work.

The Big Event will celebrate its 35th anniversary this Saturday, and as students prepare for a day of service, former Big Event recipients, too, are reflecting on the important role Big Event plays in the community.

Becky Nussbaum, Class of 1986, was the first publicity chair for The Big Event and recalled the event’s conception.

“At the time, Joe Nussbaum was the Vice President of Student Services for student government and we were having a meeting of people who were on that committee and one of the guys in there on the committee was named Evan Secor,” Nussbaum said. “Evan said, ‘You know, this isn’t what I thought it was going to be about, I thought we were going to provide service for the university or for the community,’ and that was just a stroke of genius. It was just exactly what everybody was looking for.”

Nussbaum said the event displays the unity and gratitude of the community and recalled some of the past Big Events she’s attended.

“It’s a wonderful way to show our unity as Aggies, to show our gratitude as Aggies and A&M wouldn’t be what it is if we didn’t have those values and we wouldn’t be who we are if the town[s] didn’t support us — both Bryan and College Station,” Nussbaum said. “It’s just been so fun to see people tell you, ‘Oh this is my 10th year to have the Aggies come for The Big Event.’ [Getting to see] people making cookies and lemonade for the students who are coming to help them and they’re making things for them.”

Glenda and Dean Schneider, both Class of 1982 and the 2016-2017 Parents of the Year, were recipients of The Big Event last year. They said the students who worked on their house came and redid their flowerbeds without any prior experience.

“It was really nice … They were the most polite and hard-working kids I’ve ever seen,” Glenda said. “They’d never done any gardening or anything before so they just got in there and got dirty and mulched and planted plants and did things they have never done before and I think they had a great time doing it and I know we enjoyed having them here.”

Glenda said the family chose to sign up for The Big Event after she was in a car accident and could no longer do tasks she was formerly able to.

“I was in a car accident in July of 2015 and had neck and back injuries, so I couldn’t really do the gardening and the things that needed to be done and my husband doesn’t really have the time, so I thought that Big Event would be a good thing for us to do,” Glenda said.

Laura Edwards, Class of 2009, said she signed up because doing yard tasks with their three smaller children was difficult without the extra hands. 

“We have [participated] every year since we moved here and that was 2015 … This will be our third year,” Edwards said. “They’ve been wonderful … We’ve just really appreciated the willingness of students to get up Saturday mornings and do stuff, like in our case, dig in our backyard because we have drainage problems in our house … They’ve just been out there digging and hauling dirt and doing it with a smile.”

 

Cindy Davis, Class of 1998, has been participating in The Big Event for about five years and said her and her husband always enjoy meeting the students that are there to help.

“My husband especially enjoys interacting with the students,” Davis said. “He’s been disabled for the last five years so it’s been really good for him to have people come over and help and he also gets to hang out with them so that’s why it’s been a pretty big deal to us.”

Davis said her husband had to miss the last Big Event because he was in the hospital, but he is looking forward to being able to be involved in this year’s Big Event.

“He couldn’t do the things he normally would, he used to do all of the yard work and stuff,” Davis said. “Actually when we did Big Event I had to drive in from Houston because he was in a coma in Houston when The Big Event was happening … He missed it last year so he’s looking forward to it this year.”

Nussbaum recalled a conversation she had with a retired professor who participated in The Big Event in which he explained the relationship between community and students.

“One year a man was a retired professor … and he said ‘Oh, you’ve got to meet my sister, she’s here visiting me.’ The sister kept saying, ‘Why are they doing this? Why would these kids come here and help you?’” Nussbaum said. “[The professor] said ‘Because they want to say thank you — because I’m a part of their community and they’re a part of my community.’ She said, ‘This is just not something that college students do — get up on a Saturday morning and help strangers,’ and he said, ‘Well most college students don’t do that — but Aggies do.’”

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