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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M infielder Rylen Wiggins (2) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at the Austin Super Regional at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Aggies’ season ends with heartbreaking loss to Longhorns
Luke White, Sports Editor • May 27, 2024

Sharper play in the sixth innings of Texas A&M softball’s NCAA Super Regional series with No. 1 Texas may have been the difference between...

Advertisement
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Column: No truer showing of service than Big Event

Big+Event+staff+assistants+Mark+Dore%2C+Brittany+Phelps+and+Emre+Yurttas.
Provided

Big Event staff assistants Mark Dore, Brittany Phelps and Emre Yurttas.

My Big Event lasted longer than most — something in the vicinity of 12 hours — but I did no more glamorous work than the almost 22,000 students pulling weeds and painting fences. 

At some point I threw my back out hauling a ladder. I got a little too much sun, and I swallowed some dirt tossing a bag of leaves into a dumpster. It turns out the best memories require a few rounds of Advil afterward.

Saturday afternoon, as a staff assistant for The Big Event, a small piece of a hyper-coordinated machine aimed at nothing more than a humble afternoon’s work, I brushed against the unique ethic of this university in a way I never imagined possible.

The Battalion exposes me to new slices of campus every day, with each story driving home the breadth of experience on this campus. But as I prepare to graduate, I wanted to get my hands dirty. The newsroom will always be my campus home, but The Big Event provided the perfect outlet to experience the community in a grittier, more sunburned way. 

Service is hard to measure, except in rare moments like Saturday, when 21,000 Aggies sat in traffic for hours to saw ’em off at 9 a.m. ahead of an afternoon of work. That’s not a normal thing to do. As we set up at 7 a.m., several hundred students were already there, hours early. Again: not normal. Aggies help their own every day, but driving past yard after yard filled with hundreds of bagged leaves explained to me the A&M core values in a way a slogan never could.

But if The Big Event is an iceberg, Saturday’s spectacle is just its tip, the manifestation of general community goodwill and the work on the part of the student team that makes it possible. As a staff assistant, I had the best view in the house. Each of us checked a handful of the job sites beforehand to gauge the tools and volunteers needed for the work. (Which means if you didn’t have enough gloves or shovels, it might have been my fault. Sorry.)

The process revealed some of the many ways people can stick to the Aggie magnet. One woman whose house we checked travels 200 days per year, leading Aggies on trips around the world. There was an Aggie veterinarian, a couple retired professors and one woman who became so close with an Aggie family during her stint at A&M that she still lives with them, decades later.

One couple recently bought a house in the area after their daughter came home brainwashed in the best way. They offered to open their home for my Big Event partner’s and my wedding (we’re engaged, so it’s not weird) and they had the chairs and waterfront view to prove it. They were entirely serious. This is our community.

But when it comes to putting into words The Big Event’s impact, I’ll turn it over to one of the event’s superstars. Emre Yurttas embodies The Big Event’s purpose better than anyone I’ve known and, along with my fiancee, he was my partner this year. A political science senior, he grew up in College Station and has seen the service project take root.

“It’s important because the Bryan-College Station community does so much for us as students and they supported us so much over the years,” he said. “It’s a nice way to show we’re not just students, we’re servant-hearted leaders devoted to giving back for the greater good.”

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
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 *