March 24 was not a regular Saturday here in Aggieland. In addition to the veterinary students in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences holding the 25th annual open house, it was also the day of one of my favorite annual service projects, The Big Event.
The Big Event is the largest one-day, student-run service project that allows us college students to say “thank you” to the residents of Bryan and College Station. Originally, The Big Event started at Texas A&M in the early 80s, but it has slowly spread to other schools across the country that participate in this project with us every year. This year, more than 20,000 Aggies came together for a fun-filled day of selfless service. These 20,000 Aggies registered with a group and then were assigned a site, tools, and specific tasks that the resident of that site is requesting.
This year, I was the job site leader for my small group of five. As site leader, I was in charge of checking my group in, checking out the required tools, and making sure everyone was making the most our this amazing experience.
The Big Event begins with a kickoff ceremony to get everyone hyped about helping the community. This year’s ceremony featured fire works, free food, and a send-off speech from new head football coach, Jimbo Fisher. After the ceremony, we all dispersed to stand in long lines for our tools and then shuffle over to our assigned resident.
My resident was a sweet 90-year-old grandma who lives by herself and, due to physical disabilities and a recently broken arm, had trouble with tending to her yard and reaching high places inside her house. So, our job was to lay down mulch, rake leaves, plant flowers, mow her lawn, organize her house, bring down dishes she couldn’t reach, and dust out her air vents and cabinets.
Because we were able to dedicate four hours to making her life a little easier, her yard looks amazing, with fresh mulch and flowers; her house is extremely clean; and she can finally use the supplies in her house that she couldn’t reach before. We were also able to re-organize the majority of her house so that she wouldn’t have to store things in places she couldn’t physically get to. She was extremely grateful and rewarded us for our hard work with amazing homemade pizza!
By the time I dropped off my group at their respective apartments and returned the tools, I was exhausted, covered in mosquito bites, and super sweaty. However, I was also happy and satisfied, as well. I got the amazing opportunity to get to help out the community that I live in and make a true difference in someone else’s life. The added job allowed me to have more responsibility than last year and more insight into group organization.
Overall, this year’s Big Event was a huge success! So many Aggies were able to help out the community through various chores and say “thank you” the most impactful way possible while representing the Aggie Core Values of unity and service!