Students Participate in Annual Big Event

The 13th Annual Big Event took place last Saturday, October 6 at 11:00 am as a day for students to participate in community service. The event was organized by the Student Government Association and received the assistance of various other groups on campus such as Fraternity and Sorority Clubs and the Outdoors Club, to name a few. Over 400 students volunteered.

According to the University website page dedicated to the event, the Big Event, which was first held in 1982 at the Texas A&M University, “is the single largest community service project that takes place…every year.” It was brought to the University by Lauren Schwarz, the SGA President in 2002, who was also a guest speaker at this year’s event. The event, which is run by SGA, takes place rain or shine.

Ali Tuyahov President and Pro- Temprore of SGA, was one of the main planners of the Big Event. “Last year I was elected chairperson of The 13th Annual Big Event,” Tuyahov said. “Towards the end of the year, all throughout the summer, and the beginning of this year I planned a majority of the event. I had help from my committee members, SGA Advisors Vaughn Clay and Heather Kelly, and SGA secretary Bette Farriello. The MU bookstore also donated all of the tshirts in honor of National Student Appreciation Day.”

The event is a day of repent back and gives students the opportunity to help the neighborhoods in surrounding communities around campus, social service agencies, and community organizations, according to the webpage.

“The goal of this event is to get University students involved in community service. It is also to show the community, who can often have a negative image of Monmouth that the students are here to help them and positively impact the community,” Tuyahov said.

Jon Buchalski, Assistant Director of Student Activities for Fraternity and Sorority Life, described the event as extremely successful. “There were so many students that they felt like there wasn’t enough for them to do. They were constantly looking for more opportunities for service, and they had to keep getting more and more because of the number of people volunteering that day,” Buchalski said.

All University students were encouraged to participate, particularly those who were already a part of clubs, Greek letter organizations, athletic teams, residence hall or offcampus housing groups, and departments on campus. Students were told to have their own transportation, but buses were provided to take students to different locations if they could not provide transportation for themselves.

The works sites, according to the website, are areas around the University that need a helping hand.. This year, worksites included Asbury Park beach, Ronald McDonald House, Monmouth Medical center, Deal Lake, Francis Asbury manor, and many local churches, Tuyahov said.

The work expected of volunteers for the Big Event includes the possibilities of working with the elderly in assisted living facilities, cleaning up local beaches, assisting food pantries and local animal shelters, painting murals, landscaping local schools, and other projects requested by the community.

Service for the University was also included in the event. According to Buchalski, different groups were situated on campus to prepare for other events and to provide for the community.

“One of the sights was preparing for Open House, which was the next day. Students set up Anacon and the cafeteria area for people to eat breakfast. Another group was making Halloween decorations and costumes for the less fortunate who can’t afford to buy them. There was another group doing letters to veterans to thank them and show that they appreciate what they’re doing for their country and there was another group that were making blankets for children in the hospital,” Buchalski said.

The SGA picked up the Big Event in the spring semester of 2000 from the Texas A&M and decided that it should be brought to the University. Since then, the event is seen as a signature program for SGA, according to the website.

SGA governs all the clubs and organizations on campus, which include over 75 already recognized and more emerging every year. The SGA website declares that it “is directly responsible for overseeing the annual funding of our clubs and organizations, as well as providing financial assistance to groups and individuals who wish to sponsor a special program or event.”

The Senate contains 12 committees that include the Academic Affairs, Campus and Safety, Finance, Residential Life and Health Services, Public Relations, Student Affairs, Big Event & SGA Auction, General Members, Human and Community Relations, elections, Events Programming and Website.

To contact SGA, visit their office on the third floor of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center.