Virginia Tech’s Big Event will be held Saturday, April 5, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Big Event is Virginia Tech’s largest community service project and is the second largest of its kind in the nation. Volunteer registration and homeowners’ project requests will close March 22.
The Big Event was started as a way for students to say thank you to the people of Blacksburg, Montgomery County and the New River Valley. Since 2002, the Big Event has consistently grown. In 2013, there were 6,855 volunteers who completed 840 projects. This year’s organizers say they are determined to break record numbers with 7,000 volunteers and 1,000 projects.
“It is a way to embrace Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), incorporate it into your life, and it makes you feel good to give back to the community,” said Big Event co-director Keith Bardsley of Wall, N.J., a senior majoring in business management in the Pamplin College of Business. “Virginia Tech students have a passion for Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) and the town homeowners have a passion for their students and Virginia Tech. I think it’s great for us to join forces for ‘One Big Day, One Big Thanks.’”
“The Big Event allows us to connect and get to know the people we live with all year in Blacksburg,” said co-director of fundraising Peter Gunderson of Chesapeake, Va., a senior majoring in aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering. “They put up with a lot being in a college town and this is one way we can say thanks for having us.”
The Big Event encourages students, staff, and faculty to volunteer to complete projects in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and throughout the New River Valley. Volunteers can register as individuals or in teams. The Big Event accepts projects from homeowners of any age, ability, and socioeconomic status. The projects range from yard work to painting to cleaning windows.
Volunteers will report to the Drillfield at 9 a.m. for opening ceremonies that include performances by a cappella and dance groups, music, and giveaways. After picking up their project assignments, T-shirts, and tools, volunteers leave for their projects around 10 a.m. When they are finished they report back to the Drillfield to return tools and celebrate their hard work.
Planning for the Big Event is done by 24 executive student leaders and 110 committee and staff members. The Big Event is sponsored by Capital One, Hensel Phelps, First Bank & Trust Company, Terrace View Apartments, and through local fundraising efforts.