COVID-19 disrupted a lot of on-campus spring events that Quinnipiac students were looking forward to, and the Big Event was one of them. Since it was originally scheduled for April 4, the in-person event had to be cancelled. However, that did not mean the Quinnipiac community could not give back during these unprecedented times. This is how the Big Event executive board came up with the idea of a virtual Big Event Week.
From April 4 to April 11, the Big Event e-board posted on Instagram different community service ideas people could complete. Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to send in pictures of themselves completing these service projects so they could be posted on the Big Event Instagram page.
“We had a multitude of events from delivering groceries to elderly neighbors, donating hygiene products to homeless shelters, donating to local food shelters and even tutoring younger students,” said Shane Grant, one of the Big Event co-directors. “We posted on our Instagram about the different ways that people could partake each day.”
Even though the event was no longer in person, the Big Event e-board was pleased with how many people participated and sent in examples of how they were giving back to their communities.
“The turnout was great. We had many students, alumni and faculty participate,” said Erika Conaci, the other Big Event co-director. “We received multiple pictures of masks that students, faculty and staff sewed. Some participants made headbands with buttons sewed on the side for workers to put the strings of their mask around to relieve the back of their ears. A few participants donated blood. We also had a good amount of people who cleaned up their neighbor’s yard, as well as, tidied up their neighborhood.”
Not only was the virtual week a way to give back to the community, it was also a way to spread positivity during these hard times.
“We just wanted to do what we could to help our communities,” said Alyssa Lawson, one of the Big Event community outreach co-chairs. “We know how hard the pandemic is for everyone and to spread any amount of service and positivity is all we could hope for.”
Transitioning to a whole new event, especially online, was an adjustment for the Big Event, but overall, the e-board thought that a good amount of the Quinnipiac community participated and gave back to their communities.
“In terms of struggles, I feel students miss having the comradery of participating as one big unit,” said Peri Bongiovanni, a public relations co-chair for the Big Event. “Gathering a giant group of people together brings a lot more fun to volunteering than with a small group. However, it was nice to see families and friends using this time to bond together.”
Having to go virtual because of COVID-19 allowed for the Big Event e-board to think about how it can benefit the annual in-person Big Event. Some of the experiences from the virtual week will be considered.
“This virtual Big Event has definitely opened my thoughts about how we could open this up to the families of participants who can partake in their own homes,” Grant said.
Having participants send in photos and videos documenting their service is something else the Big Event e-board is considering using in the future.
“This was the first year that we asked participants to take pictures and videos,” Conaci said. “I think in the future videos or even tik toks can help document the spirit of The Big Event.”
The Big Event is all about giving back to our communities, thanking them for their support. The Big-Event e-board is grateful for those of the Quinnipiac community who continued to give back, especially during these unprecedented times.
“Thank you to everyone who participated in our week-long event and who have done something in their communities to help,” Lawson said. “I want everyone to know how much their compassion and service means to not only us but everyone in our communities.”