Campus and community unity on display at Big Event

FSU President John Thrasher addresses the student volunteers on Saturday.
Photo Submitted by Evenson Decosse

One of the largest student-run service projects in the nation held its 10th annual event at the Tucker Civic Center on Saturday. The Big Event Tallahassee offers students the opportunity to give back to the community that gives so much to them.

The Kick-off for the event began with opening statements from Florida State University President John Thrasher, who said he looked forward to another year of selflessness, creating lasting relationships within the local area and bonding through community assistance.

Jason Randle, the public relations director for the event, said, “This year was truly a turning point for the event because it marked a variety of things happening. First of all we exceeded our volunteer goal from last year. We had almost 1,700 students come out. Also, the sites we volunteered were predominately residential and non-profit, but we really focused on the residential sites this year. We made an effort to ask where our services were mostly needed and where we could be the most successful.

“This is about the community and getting stakeholders involved from all sectors of the city. We made a specific effort to stay true to our mission this year,” he added.

The event aimed to gather thousands of college students from Florida State University, Florida A&M University and Tallahassee Community College, as they came together to express their appreciation to the community at one of the most high-profile one-day service projects held collectively by student organizations and with the help of local residents.

Rachel Forman, executive director of the Big Event, said, “I am so proud of my team. They put on an event that hosted over 1,600 students that signed up. So we were able to complete about 7,000 hours of community service in one day. If that’s not making a difference in the city I don’t know what is. We went to over 50 different sites to serve them and say thank you for all they do.”

The Big Event Tallahassee aspires to produce a culture of “campus and community unity” by empowering participants to volunteer through their campus organizations. Initiatives were set in place to prompt as many students as possible to be in attendance, ready and able to give back.

“It was tiresome but well worth it,” Tamara St. Louis, sophomore at FSU, said. “Today went better than I imagined it would. I actually had a really fun time with my organization. We volunteered at two different sites today, we played a small part but I feel like we made change in Tallahassee.”

Big Event Tallahassee organizers said they look forward to next year’s participants, as they hope to maximize the number of volunteers for the next annual one-day, student run service project.