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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Big Event is a big success


On Saturday, March 27 students across College Station participated in the largest one-day student-run service project in the nation. 

After missing a year due to COVID-19, The Big Event 2021 saw 10,000 Texas A&M students serving around the Bryan-College Station area on Saturday, March 27.
The Big Event looked slightly different this year, with students volunteering in smaller groups of no more than 10 people, social distancing and wearing masks to ensure the safety of participants and community members. In addition, the event was shortened to two hours from its traditional four hours for students at their designated locations. Through it all, both students and homeowners said they missed the event when it had to be canceled last year.
Management senior and The Big Event director Kristin Guzak said the executive team wanted to ensure the event happened this year while prioritizing safety. Guzak said this event is not only important for students, but also those they serve during the event.
“We know that The Big Event is bigger than just one year and reflects the Aggie value of selfless service in just one small way that Aggies carry on throughout the entire year,” Guzak said. “I think it did a lot for students to still be able to have an impact while easing back into what it means to be serving in the community.”
Geographic information science and technology junior Emilly Gill participated in The Big Event with her women’s organization Aggie Classics, serving in the Indian Lakes housing district in College Station. Their primary tasks were to pick weeds out of a front yard garden, adding mulch and raking leaves.
“I think we were still able to give back in a really fulfilling way. [The woman we worked for] was telling us that she tore her shoulder recently and couldn’t garden and that it was also her birthday,” Gill said. “It was still really nice to do things for the community that supports us in so many ways.”
Economics senior and Student Body President Eric Mendoza volunteered with fellow Student Government Association members to do yard work in a neighborhood near his own home. Mendoza said events like The Big Event show how much of an influence meeting neighbors can have, not only in College Station, but anywhere.
“I think that a majority of our students live off-campus and [are] realizing that we want to make sure that we are being good neighbors and good citizens, and we want to make sure that we are connecting and taking full advantage of the opportunities in town,” Mendoza said. “Part of that is connecting and understanding those better that we live around, which is something that we can take into the rest of our lives.”
Local homeowners, like College Station City Councilmember Linda Harvell, were thrilled to have students coming back to get to serve the community during this event. Harvell said she has participated in the event since 2008, and every year students continue to amaze her with their willingness to help the community.
Harvell said she had hard-working students from the Tri Delta sorority and Phi Gamma Delta fraternity assist with her greenhouses.
“When you have young people like this, our future is in such great hands, and I mean that sincerely,” Harvell said.
Harvell said it is always a joy to meet new students every year and continue to interact with Aggies who not only serve her, but keep her connected with current students at the university.
“It’s not so much what odd chores I might have them do; it’s being able to be a part of their experience at A&M, however short [it is],” Harvell said. “Hopefully we created memories so whenever they graduate and get married and have kids that come to A&M and get involved in The Big Event, they will remember coming to my house.”
The Big Event provides an opportunity for students to give back to Aggieland, which Gill said is a sign of how much students appreciate and support those around them.
“It feels really awesome to be a part of something that is bigger than myself, especially because I know living in a college town with 70,000 students isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do when you are trying to raise a family or you are not the college age,” Gill said. “I think it is really cool doing all we can to give back to show them how grateful we are for sharing their space and their lives.”
Mendoza said COVID-19 protocols didn’t seem to bother students who were participating and did not slow them down or keep them from showing their gratitude to the community.
“The realization that it didn’t happen last year and the amazing full circle that it did get to happen this year is amazing,” Mendoza said. “It really was exciting that we [still] got the cool component of getting to meet with the residents and learn more about them.”

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