The Big Event was big last year. But it might be even bigger this year.
More than 500 students registered as of last Friday. Registration closes today, and volunteers who submit late registration forms will not be guaranteed a site, according to Big Event officials.
The Big Event, co-sponsored by the Student Government Association and Community Action Project, will take place on Saturday, April 9, with an opening and closing ceremony, three hours of community service, breakfast and lunch.
“It’s one big thank you,” said Melissa Trinks, co-chair of The Big Event.
Trinks and Matt Hudak, fellow co-chair, expect about 800 students to show up for the service day. Last year, 680 students took part in the event.
The Big Event is the nation’s largest one-day student-run community service event started at Texas A&M University 28 years ago. Now almost 100 universities participate in the event nationwide.
The Big Event committee reached out to more than 100 nonprofit organizations in the greater New Haven area, including the Ronald McDonald House, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and Animal Haven. The goal is to raise money for these organizations who are struggling in the current economy. Community service projects include painting, landscaping, gardening, and holding car washes.
“This growth gives greater recognition for Quinnipiac and it shows how much students here care about the community,” Hudak said.
The goal for last year’s Big Event was 50 sites and 500 students. The goal was surpassed with 54 sites and 680 students.
“Our goal this year is to build upon the success of last year,” Trinks said.
“It is overwhelming to see such a large number of people helping others,” Trinks said.
And it couldn’t be done without the “abundance of support from the different departments and offices around campus,” Hudak said.
Another goal of The Big Event is to bring the Hamden community together.
“Students applying to Quinnipiac should look at this event as well,” Hudak said. “Hopefully they will talk about this before they even get here.”
Lindey Raffol, Best Buddies co-chair, said The Big Event is a way to “expose the reciprocity that occurs when you give time to others.”
“While you are doing a service for someone else, you are gaining valuable experience and knowledge about the way others live and view the world,” Raffol said in an e-mail.