The Big Event was held from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, at more than 20 sites in Clarksville.

More than 500 student volunteers met at the Foy Center to check in and have breakfast in the morning, left to their assigned sites for their service and met up again in the afternoon for lunch.

“The event was a huge success,” said Student Government Association President Zac Gillman. “I believe the Big Event is a great event, but we must understand community service must not be done in one day out of the year. I hope this event will encourage more students to get involved with the Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement.”

Students donned red shirts and went to various locations across the city to help out, including Fort Defiance, the Dunbar Cave State Park, the Riverside Drive Cleanup, the Teacher’s Warehouse, the APSU Victory Garden and the SOS Food Pantry.

“Everyone’s got a good attitude,” said Garden Assistant Chris Upton. “Without volunteers like these guys, [the Victory Garden] wouldn’t happen.”

The first Big Event was started by students from Texas A&M University in 1982 for students to give back to residents in their community rather than exclusively helping those in need of economic assistance as many existing service projects did.

Zac Gillman brought the event to APSU for the first time this year.

“I found out [the Big Event] was a major volunteer effort for students … showing people we can all work together; … that was probably my biggest reason for coming out,” said senior biology major Jennifer Kuhn, who worked at the Food Pantry for the event. “I think it’s amazing to get this many college students together at one time and [send] them out to where our community needs them.”

Gillman said SGA “hopes this will become another signature event of APSU like our other events, G.H.O.S.T. and Mudbowl.” SGA is planning to host the Big Event again next year and aims for 750 students to sign up for the day of service. TAS