The Big Event to have big impact on Mississippi community

Published 9:07 pm Sunday, March 31, 2024

More than 1,000 University of Mississippi students will head out into Oxford and Lafayette County next weekend to volunteer their time to say “Thank you” to the community that has welcomed them with open arms.

The annual Big Event happens on April 6. Students will spend about four hours cleaning, pruning, weeding, painting, picking up trash, and a variety of other activities at dozens of community service projects.

Project sites include schools, churches, nonprofits, community centers, and even private homes.

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Throughout the school year, students have the opportunity to apply for any five areas of The Big Event by serving as an assistant director, a chair, or a committee member, according to Meredith Whited, director of Internal Operations for The Big Event.

“If students didn’t get a chance to register with us, walk-ins are welcome,” she said.

The first Big Event at Ole Miss was held in 2011.

This year, a new Big Event award, The Golden Shovel! will be awarded at the opening ceremony to the group of students with the most attendees.

Having such a large-scale service day can really open the eyes of everyone participating, as it helps develop team bonding, patience, and labor skills, said Landon Wong, director of Community Outreach for The Big Event.

“It is a really good way to introduce students to the community outside of the university,” he said. “Our student volunteers are here to leave a positive impact on the community that has done so much for us.”

The Big Event helps students develop a deeper appreciation for the Oxford/Lafayette community and, in some cases, helps the less fortunate and less capable parts of the community, Wong said.

Some projects will require a dozen or more volunteers, while smaller projects will have one or two students assisting residents and organizations.

“There are benefits with all the different types of projects that we receive,” Wong said. “Smaller projects can help the volunteers become closer to one another as well as the project hosts themselves. In addition, we are able to help a lot more areas in the community with smaller projects. On the other hand, we love our larger projects too, because we get to put a lot of effort into a bigger project that might need a lot of attention.”

The project registration deadline has passed, but Wong said adding one or two more projects might be possible if there is a great need.

“As of now, we have a great selection of projects within and just outside of Lafayette County. We’d like to keep the project site and volunteer numbers consistent with each other,” Whited said.

For more information, follow The Big Event on Facebook, Instagram and X @olemissbigevent.