ONE BIG DAY - ONE BIG THANKS - THE BIG EVENT
By Jennie Alice Kuykendall '19 | Vol. 3 Issue 2
Since starting college, I’ve found that I am grateful for my time and the time people spend on me. I see now that the way people spend their time speaks volumes about who they are and what matters to them. This is particularly evident in college because your time is finally yours to manage and everyone is able to make their own decisions about how to use this precious commodity. In high school my schedule was rigid. There was limited flexibility, and my time was managed for me. But when I got to college I saw the margin I now had to really indulge in the classes, organizations and people of my own choosing.
I quickly realized that I wanted to spend my time being on the staff of The Big Event, the largest, one-day student-run service project in the nation. As an Aggie, you are expected to strive to embody the core values: Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect, and Selfless Service. While The Big Event embodies all six of these, its heart is Selfless Service. This giant day of community service not only unifies the campus, but shows the residents of Bryan/College Station that we as a student body are grateful for their patience as 60,000 college students flood their town every fall.
As a staff member, I had the privilege of going to twenty different resident’s homes in Bryan/College Station. I was able to sit at their kitchen tables and hear their life stories. One ninety-three year old woman told me of her memories of World War II and the marine she loved, but could never have. Another woman apologized for her overgrown backyard, explaining that her late husband had spent every morning outside working the ground, but she had lost him this past September. Some stories broke my heart and others changed my perspective. My time on staff taught me that, as an Aggie, having a fruitful connection to the B/CS area is extremely important because their graciousness deserves our service and time. But mostly, the importance of serving this community is hearing the personal stories happening in our own backyard that shows the Aggie family extends into all of Aggieland.
This year The Big Event was a wild success. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and arrived at Koldus to loud music, overflowing coffee and excited eyes in Big Event polo shirts. In the shadow of Kyle Field, we began to arrange tables, booths and the stage for the kick-off dance party as the anticipation mounted. It now seems like a dream when over 23,000 students, who generously gave up their Saturday, started dancing to the music that DJ Mike was spinning. Soon Michael Young, the president of Texas A&M, sent everyone out to pick up their tools and work hard. Over 2,500 residents were served that day. Before I knew it, the last shovel was returned to us, and we were taking a staff picture to commemorate a job well done.
I chose to spend my time with Big Event because I am passionate about seeing my campus come together in unity and service. My time in college has taught me that what people do with their time is a huge indication of their character. The Big Event is an outstanding way to spend your time, which is why over 23,000 students volunteered this year. I believe that The Big Event fortifies the Aggie Code of Honor and proves Texas A&M to be a university of outstanding character and achievement that benefits a community of people through service.