BIG Event a big help

More than 1,500 volunteers participated in helping the community

Sprucing Up: Jenna Day and Megan Willenstein, left to right, help give a house a new coat of paint during the BIG Event on April 9. Photo By: Brock Copus | Photographer
Sprucing Up: Jenna Day and Megan Willenstein, left to right, help give a house a new coat of paint during the BIG Event on April 9. Photo By: Brock Copus | Photographer
Judith Paulovich is very grateful for Ferris students who volunteered for this year’s BIG Event.

Paulovich, a Paris resident, was one of the recipients for Ferris’ largest community service event. Paulovich was diagnosed with brain cancer ten years ago, which impaired some of her abilities.

Paulovich said she had to re-learn how to walk and is currently in remission.

“It’s a godsend,” said Paulovich about the students who came out to help her. She said students have been coming out to help her for three years now.

She also said, “We could never handle all of this work by ourselves.”

This was the BIG Event’s fourth year on the Ferris campus. The BIG Event was started 29 years ago at Texas A&M University. The Vice President of Student Government at Texas A&M wanted to find a way to say ‘thank you’ to the residents of the Bryan and College station area.

Currently, there are over 15,000 Texas A&M students who participate on the significant day of community service.

The BIG Event was brought to Ferris’ campus in 2008 after Student Government attended the Conference of student government Associations at Texas A&M. Claire Gould, a Ferris graduate and former president of student government, started the BIG Event at Ferris.

The BIG Event’s first year began with 20 houses and 200 student volunteers. This year, more than 1,500 volunteers participated, including 20 faculty and staff volunteers and 20 student government members.

“We have come a long way,” said Danielle Blamer, 2011 director of the BIG Event.

Carissa Sudol, a junior in the dental hygiene program, said, “This is the third year I have participated in the BIG Event, and it was just as awesome, if not more, than it has been in the past.”

Sudol said this year’s registration process was a lot less hectic than in previous years. She also said, “This year we had more to do at our site than any of my teams have in the past – such as washing windows and painting fences.”

Sally Jean, a junior in radiography, said for her, the BIG Event is about the satisfaction she receives from knowing that she helped out someone in the community.

“I always find it a great feeling once you see the smile and gratitude of the person whom you’re completing tasks for – even if it means having to get up on ladders and you know the owner of the house is not capable of doing so,” said Jean.

She said her group had two houses they had to volunteer for and her group had an elderly lady who lived by herself.

“With just knowing that we made her day, the tasks seem like they were nothing,” said Jean.

Some of the tasks Jean’s group completed were cleaning out gutters, washing outside windows and raking the yard.

Paulovich said the student volunteers who weeded her flower garden was what she considered the best task. She also said the group who helped her did an exceptional job and appreciates students coming out to lend a helping hand.

Sudol also said she truly appreciated the help that Ferris and the BIG Event provided for her.

She added, “The BIG Event has helped so many in this area, and I’m very happy to be a part of that.” n