Every year, the University of Toledodedicates one big day to provide one big thanks to the Toledo community through one Big Event.
Known as the largest student-run service project, UT Big Event will take place March 25 from 10 a.m.– 4 p.m. Volunteers are expected to arrive to the Student Recreation Center for a kickoff speech to start the event.
First-year pharmacy major Katie Matousek said that the Big Event is intended to bring together different organizations to serve the community. While groups can choose where they serve by submitting requests, organizations that do not have a preference will also be assigned to do work, Matousek said.
“I think it’s great to give back to the community without expecting anything in return,” said Matousek, the team leader for Active Christians Today.
She has been involved in the planning of this event for two months and expects at least 30 different organizations to be taking part in this year’s Big Event.
Second-year exercise science major Stacy Isaac said that she is also looking forward to giving back to the place she has been living in. This is her way of thanking the community for the opportunities it has given her.
“I hope to gain a better understanding of what the community here in Toledo is like by working alongside people from different places with different values,” Isaac said.
Taking on the role of a team leader for Food Recovery Network, Isaac said that it means something to be able to help people and work together in peace. She encourages people to think about a time in their own life when they have been in need and how others have reached out and helped them. To her, that is what Big Event is about.
“I expect my team members to work diligently, be respectful of others and understand the importance of what they are doing,” Isaac said.
Claudia Garber, a volunteer from last year’s Big Event and a second-year communication major, said she had a great time participating during her freshman year.
Her organization, Zeta Phi Eta, spent a total of three hours cleaning up a neighborhood in downtown Toledo. The experience allowed Garber to gain an overall understanding of the value of teamwork and dedication.
“My favorite part of Big Event was getting to know the members of my fraternity a little more than I did before the event,” Garber said.
Carlee Vaugh, a second-year pharmacy student, is participating for her second year in a row and has decided to volunteer as a team leader for the honors college this year.
Volunteering through Lambda Kappa Sigma as a first-year, Vaughn’s responsibilities included gardening, restocking and organizing shelves at a local food bank. Vaughn said that she sensed a good feeling after giving back, which is why she is participating again this year.
“It sounds like a big-time commitment, but it’s only one day out of your entire year and it’s just giving back to your community, giving back to those around you, who make UT great,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn encourages students who are hesitant to go ahead and give it a shot. Even students who don’t have an organization to go with can sign up through Rocket Nation and volunteer.
“Even if you wanted to go with just a friend, a lot of organizations would enjoy the extra help,” Vaughn said.
Students and staff members who are interested in participating can sign up through OrgSync.