The Big Event was held last Saturday, April 8th on the Virginia Tech campus, and thousands of students gathered on the Drillfield to get their tools and volunteer assignments before dispersing into teams. The Big Event is a volunteer event held each April in which students travel to local homes (or schools or other community buildings) and help with yardwork, cleaning, special projects, or anything else the homeowners might need. Students turn out in large numbers each year for this event, even in rain or snow, as students who participated last year know all too well. This year, however, the weather was much better (though a little chilly in the morning), and it was a perfect day to work outside.
April, the last full month of the spring semester, is always a busy time for Hokies filled with many emotions, with the spring football game, family weekend, April 16th remembrance events, gearing up for finals, and volunteer events like The Big Event and Relay For Life all taking place. The Big Event and Relay For Life have widespread recognition and participation on campus and have become traditions for students (both events are on the Hokie Bucket List). For students who don’t have the time to volunteer regularly, these events give them the chance to embrace the Virginia Tech motto of “Ut Prosim” (“That I May Serve”) in a safe and fun environment.
The Big Event also helps students give back to the community and get to know the people who live around them. College students, especially those who live on campus, may feel like they live in a bubble and don’t often get the chance to interact with members of the Blacksburg community outside of the university. Blacksburg residents make a lot of sacrifices for the sake of the university (remember all of the noise complaints after the Diplo concert last fall?), and it’s important to let them know they are appreciated and respected.
Participating in The Big Event can also give students the outside connection they crave, as they drive to a part of Blacksburg or Christiansburg maybe they haven’t been to before, knock on the door of an unknown house, and are greeted by the smiling face of a person who is thrilled they are there. Often, the homeowners will take the time to genuinely get to know students and make connections with them.
Reaching out to the community is vital for students to help them realize that there are people outside those campus limits and to give those people the recognition they deserve. The Big Event helps make all of this possible.