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

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
When it rains, it pours
February 24, 2024
Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Four for four
February 20, 2024
76th Speaker of the Senate Marcus Glass, left, poses with incoming 77th Speaker of the Senate Ava Blackburn.
Student leaders reflect on years of service in final Student Senate meeting
Justice Jenson, Senior News Reporter • April 18, 2024

The Student Government Association wrapped up its 76th session by giving out awards such as the Senator, Committee and Statesman of the Year...

Freshman Tiago Pires reaches to return the ball during Texas A&M’s match against Arkansas on Sunday, April 7, 2024 at Mitchell Tennis Center. (Lana Cheatham/The Battalion)
No. 14 Aggies receive early exit from SEC Tournament
Matthew Seaver, Sports Writer • April 19, 2024

The No. 14 Texas A&M men’s tennis team fell to the No. 44 LSU Tigers 4-3 in a down-to-the-wire duel on Thursday, April 18. Facing off at...

Julia Cottrill (42) celebrating a double during Texas A&Ms game against Southeastern Louisiana on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 at Davis Diamond. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Muffled the Mean Green
April 17, 2024
Members of the 2023-2024 Aggie Muster Committee pose outside the Jack K. Williams Administration Building. (Photo courtesy of Aggie Muster Committee)
Orchestrating a century-old tradition
Sydnei Miles, Head Life & Arts Editor • April 18, 2024

As Muster approaches, the Aggie Muster Committee works to organize a now century-old tradition. These students “coordinate every facet” of...

(Graphic by Ethan Mattson/The Battalion)
Opinion: ‘Fake Money,’ real change
Eddie Phillips, Opinion Writer • April 19, 2024

Us Aggies live privileged existences: companies beg us to take on tens of thousands in loans.  I know this may sound contradictory, but the...

Behind the scenes of the Big Event

A&M to host ‘largest one-day, student-run service project’ in nation
Photo by Adriano Espinosa
The Big Event office decorated with memorabilia and awards on Friday, March 1, 2024. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

Over 10,000 Texas A&M students, faculty, staff and College Station residents volunteer each year in the Big Event. Since 1982, Big Event has been helping merge the gap between Bryan-College Station residents and A&M through a day of service including helping residents with painting, gardening and other needed services.

This year, Big Event staff members said it would be the largest yet, with over 370 internal staff coordinating around 15,000 volunteers to serve 2,300 local residents.

These 370 staff members stay busy leading up to the 42nd annual Big Event. Big Event Director and psychology senior Tara Driskill said planning the event is difficult.

Psychology senior and director of The Big Event Tara Driskill interviews in her office on Friday, March 1, 2024. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion) (Photo by Adriano Espinosa)

“The most challenging piece of planning and executing the Big Event is ensuring that all of the numbers line up between tools, our staff having enough staff to go to all of the residents’ homes … making sure that the number of students match the number of the needs of residents,” Driskill said.

Within the Big Event program, there are six committees where student staff members are placed. These committees all work together to plan, and Driskill said they had to coordinate seamlessly over a year to plan the city-wide event.

“It really is a year-long process,” Driskill said. “Our director is chosen every April after the Big Event is done in March. They choose their executive team, and they work through the summer to formulate a vision for what they want the Big Event to look like. We get committee and staff in September, and then we hit the ground running with accepting residents sign ups starting in late August and those close early February.

“So, from that time, we are doing job checks which is where we go to the residents’ home and get a bit more information about what their needs are … Lots of different moving parts that come together on March 23,” Driskill said.

Driskill said all students, staff, faculty and members of the community are invited to sign up for the Big Event.

“[Volunteers] will get an email the week of with a resident biography with who they are serving so they can get to know them a little bit better and are encouraged to contact them before the day of,” Driskill said.

Volunteers can expect speeches from University President Mark Welsh and football coach Mike Elko, free food and music performances at the kick-off ceremony.

“Then students will get their tools and go out and serve,” Driskill said. “What the job site looks like is two-fold. The students will do the actual tangible tasks that they can help the resident with that they are less capable of doing than able-bodied college students are, and it is also an opportunity for residents to connect with students. It is a really good opportunity for students to get outside of their college bubble.”

While conducting a check at a job site, two staff members, Driskill and finance junior Blake Guerra, asked a local resident what she would need done around her house on the Big Event day including painting and planting in her front yard.

Rachel DeLeon, a teacher at Rudder High School, said she has positive memories from previous years where students came to her house for Big Event.

“I had a group that was so fun and they were an organization themselves,” DeLeon said. “They came out and we took pictures together and they painted. It was really fun.”

DeLeon said that she looks forward to students visiting her house for the Big Event.

“I really enjoy it,” DeLeon said. “I used to work on campus at the medical school, and then I worked in the evening with the student athletes. I just really missed students and student life and college life … I just really enjoy it, but I don’t have any connection to it right now. I don’t have time to go to the games and it’s nice to be connected with Aggies.”

They met a woman while volunteering in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Driskill said, they swapped stories and formed a connection.

“We have served her every year since and I go to her house once a month and go help her with a few things,” Driskill said. “It’s maybe not the most remarkable story, but I think it is a really special story of connection that if I have that story of connection and I am one person in an organization of almost 400 people that has existed for 42 years and exists on hundreds of campuses across the nation, imagine how many stories of connection there are.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Mia Putnam
Mia Putnam, News Writer
Mia Putnam is a junior (a-a-a-whoop!) public health major and masters epidemiology student. She has written for the Batt for over a year now and enjoys writing stories over politics, current student interests, and environmental issues.
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *