NSU's Big Event strengthens university, community relationship

Preparations continue for the seventh annual Big Event at Northeastern State University when students, faculty and staff perform services for the Tahlequah community.

The one-day Big Event is March 31 and allows the campus community to acknowledge and show its gratitude for the support of local citizens, organizations and businesses.

"This is a terrific way for all of us to get together and give back," said Jasmine Miller, a senior dietetics major from Tahlequah serving as the Big Event student committee co-chair. "For many students, Tahlequah becomes their home away from home."

The Big Event Planning Committee solicits job requests within the community. Hundreds will visit residents who need assistance making minor home repairs or doing household chores, or assist organizations. The interaction enhances the relationship between NSU and Tahlequah.

"The people we help may not be able to complete these tasks due to financial or physical limitations," said Kathleen Kennedy, director of campus involvement. "It is completely free and our volunteers do an excellent job."

Typical Big Event tasks include raking, cleaning gardens, painting, picking up trash, cleaning gutters, washing windows, feeding animals and walking dogs. Some volunteers will conduct highway cleanup and perform tasks around campus.

The Big Event is organized by students. About 50 students volunteered in its first year at NSU and participation now runs in the hundreds.

"We have about 750 signed up to volunteer," Miller said. "Applications are still being accepted. We want as many people involved as possible."

Miller said being a Tahlequah native is one reason she sought to chair the Big Event student committee.

"Community service is extremely important to me," she said. "I love this place and I want to give back to my home by helping those in need. The Big Event helps the community in so many ways and I had to be a part of it."

Due to overwhelming participation, organizers are still calling for submissions from people and organizations needing work done. The deadline for job requests has been extended.

"When submitting a request, we ask that people provide as complete a description as possible of the work to be completed," Kennedy said. "We can usually provide tools if they are needed. It's also important to stress that our student volunteers enjoy the Big Event as an opportunity to meet people in the community."

The Big Event was begun in 1982 at Texas A&M University and is now the largest one-day, student-run service project in the nation.

For more information about the Big Event call the NSU Office of Student Activities at 918-444-2526 or write to bigevent@nsuok.edu. Volunteer and work request forms are available at the student activities office in the basement of the University Center. 

Published: 3/15/2012 12:37:05 PM

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