Ole Miss students are gearing up to show the Oxford/Lafayette Community how much they’re appreciated in the annual Big Event on Saturday, March 24.
The Big Event is not only the largest community service project in the history of the University of Mississippi, but the largest day of community service in the state of Mississippi, according to co-director Savannah Smith.
“It is really a day where the students at the university get to be a part of something that is bigger than themselves and really get to connect on a personal level with the citizens of Oxford and Lafayette County,” Smith said.
The students will be doing service projects throughout the community, which will include working on houses, churches, businesses and community centers. The projects will also consist of helping plant flowers, raking leaves and a variety of tasks to help out the community.
Smith has been a part of the Big Event since her freshman year, but she learned about the organization long before becoming part of the Ole Miss family.
“I actually came to stay with a friend that was a year older and it was the weekend of the Big Event,” Smith said. “It was just so neat to watch all of them [students] get up that morning and go do this.”
Smith was able to witness the excitement from students participating in the organization and wanted to be a part of it.
Smith has played a variety of different roles since joining the organization. She was on a subcommittee her freshman year followed by being on the executive committee the next two years.
“This is my first year to be a co-director,” Smith said. “We sort of just facilitate the big picture.”
The committee started to plan for this year’s Big Event two weeks after last year’s event, Smith said. The committee spent two weeks transitioning before planning this year’s event.
“Last year, they [co-directors] were two seniors, and they went through the process of interviewing people for the new co-directors,” Smith said.
After being selected, the new co-directors, including Smith, “nailed down” the executive board. Returning back to school in August, the organization “hit the ground running,” Smith said.
There are six different subcommittees on the executive board, which include Volunteer Recruitment, Projects and Placement, Finance and Fundraising, Transportation and Leadership, Public Relations and Marketing and Logistics.
Volunteer Recruitments is in charge of recruiting students to join the Big Event, and Projects and Placement is in charge of recruiting projects for those volunteers.
“Finance and fundraising helps us raise money for different things like shovels and rakes that we use the day of [the event],” Smith said. “Finance and fundraising sort of keeps us alive and keeps us being able to do what we do.”
Transportation and Leadership is not only in charge of transporting the volunteers to locations the day of the Big Event, it is also in charge of facilitating a team leader for each group of volunteers.
Public Relations and Marketing is responsible for sharing the message of the Big Event while Logistics is in charge the day of the Big Event.
“Setting a date was [decided] in August,” Smith said. “Getting the location was also really important, so we are going to be at The Pavilion this year.”
According to Smith, the Big Event has over 2,000 volunteers this year with over 200 projects.
Smith said she is mostly excited to see students give back to the community.
“This is just something that is really special for students to be a part of because it is bigger than any individual,” Smith said.
Students who are wanting to participate in this year’s Big Event can sign-up through their My Ole Miss account under the ‘Get Involved’ tab.
By Talbert Toole, associate editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.