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Twelfth Annual Big Event Set for October 22

The University will host its 12th annual Big Event on Saturday, October 22. The purpose of the event has been to bring the campus and surrounding communities together to work towards a larger cause.

The first Big Event was created at Texas A&M University in 1982. Since then, over 30 college campuses across the nation have organized something similar. Through the years that the University has sponsored the Big Event, it has grown to become its largest community service project and is organized by the Student Government Association.

Students and faculty around campus said that they are looking forward to the event and are hoping for the best turnout yet. Over the years, participation has included many diverse groups of people, including students, faculty and staff, and alumni.

Volunteers will gather on campus and be transported to a variety of worksites in the area.

“Volunteers will be going to a host of worksites this year,” said Vaughn Clay, Director of Off-Campus and Commuter Services. “Some of these will include a beach cleanup in Long Branch, volunteers spending time with senior citizens in a local assisted living facility, projects at some local churches, landscaping and clean ups at some area parks, a painting project at Shore Regional High School, and a project at the Long Branch Public Library. These are only just a few of the upcoming events to be named.”

The chance to ask for a helping hand was left open to individual neighbors, community based agencies and organizations, local municipalities, houses of worship, local schools, and assisted living facilities. They had to submit applications to the University.

Heather Kelly, Assistant Director of Student Activities for Multicultural and Diversity Initiatives, has witnessed firsthand how the event has affected the school and local neighborhoods. She said that, above all else, The Big Event has brought the University and the surrounding communities closer together.

“The Big Event is such a fantastic program. To have over 300 Monmouth University students going out into the local community makes a positive impact not only on them, but on us too,” Kelly said. “This is an example of when the community gets to meet them, get a chance to know them for them for who they are, and get a beautiful image of what the Monmouth student is like.”

Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student and Community Services, said that it is essential for University students to realize that they are part of a bigger picture.

“It is critical that the University and our students understand that we are a part of the community, not apart from it, and this is a way to demonstrate that,” Nagy said.

“Those of us who work in higher education and those that benefit from it, in this case, our students, have a responsibility to give back. This is a great way to do so. As for the reaction of the local community, my experience is that they love it and appreciate the help,” she added.

Nagy also said that there are some specific goals that the University hopes to accomplish through this year’s Big Event.

“These would include helping the widest variety of groups as much as possible, helping students understand the importance of giving back to the local communities in any manner they can, and introducing members of the communities to the University and our students, which can promote respect and mutual understanding,” she said.