Big Event provides big boost to community
By ELIZABETH GOLDEN
From cleaning sidewalks to playing board games with the elderly, Fort Hays State University students joined together to help the community.
The Student Government Association at FHSU hosted its fourth annual Big Event, a day dedicated to multiple community service projects.
The Big Event originated at Texas A&M University and spread to other universities nationwide.
"It's just an event to give back to the community," said junior Noelle Husmann, SGA public relations director. "It started small, with only a handful of projects and grew each year."
The planning stages for the Big Event began in January.
"I really enjoyed seeing it all come together," Husmann said. "My favorite part was getting the word out and seeing the enthusiasm when they realize how awesome this will be."
The majority of participants were doing so as individuals, and several Greek organizations actively were involved.
"The event coincides with Greek Week," said junior Tory Arnberger, SGA senator who primarily was responsible for planning the event. "So, a lot of sororities and fraternities send their members to help us."
Arnberger said Greek organizations, in addition to several student organizations, have required service hours, and by attending the Big Event, they receive points toward the requirement.
"We like doing anything we can to help out," said junior Tre' Giles, a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon who played dominos with residents at Good Samaritan Society. "We're just trying to have fun, meet some people and play some dominos, even though none of us know how to play."
D.J. Hightower, a junior Sigma Phi member, said participating in the Big Event was not required, but it was highly encouraged.
"We wanted to do it regardless," Giles said.
The event at Good Samaritan was different than the majority of service events in the past.
"We're not just doing manual labor this year," Husmann said. "We're giving a little bit of our time in a different way."
Students who participated were entered in a drawing to win a $100 scholarship. For every hour of service a student completed, his or her name was entered in the drawing. One $200 scholarship went into a drawing for an organization.
"A lot of the students weren't even registered with an organization," Husmann said. "The students just thought this was a great opportunity to help, or (he or she) already has a personal tie with that organization in the community."
This year's event brought in approximately 100 student volunteers.
"I think the dreary weather had a hit on our volunteers," Husmann said. "But, we were so happy to give back to the Hays community. Even though it was a cloudy day, we hope we brought some sunshine to Hays."