Students volunteer to give back to the Denton community
Amanda Hall, Reporter
On Saturday, April 2 students from every part of TWU came together to support the Denton community by volunteering at The Big Event. Originally started at Texas A&M University in 1982, The Big Event was a student led initiative to give back to the surrounding community, according to bigevent.tamu.edu.
Mendie White, TWU’s Coordinator of Volunteer Services said: “[The Big Event] got bigger and bigger every year and started spreading to other universities and now there are thousands of universities across the country participating.”
Esteffanee Guajardo, the director of service days, says that the main purpose of The Big Event is “all about giving back and showing appreciation to our community.” She continued: “It’s not something you’re going to do and get paid for doing it, it just has to come from the heart.” This seemed to be the main theme that ran through the volunteers on Saturday.
As one of the many universities participating this year, TWU had 70 students register for The Big Event, according to White. The volunteers helped in cleaning up several parks through a partnership with Keep Denton Beautiful.
Groups of students volunteered at specific projects that included building a music wall at Gonzalez School for Young Children, making raised garden beds at Denton City County Day School, and beautifying the Outdoor Learning Center at Hodge Elementary.
The Volunteers behind The Big Event
Felisha-Y Pham, the president of The Pre-Nursing Organization and a volunteer, described her time as rewarding. She explained that volunteering at the Gonzalez School for Young Children gave her an opportunity to make a small difference by building raised flower beds that would affect a number of students in a larger way. As president of The Pre-Nursing Organization, it was her goal to encourage members to participate and represent TWU. This year there were 11 members of the Pre-Nursing Organization that volunteered.
Rachel Gills, a Kinesiology major, participated in The Big Event for personal reasons. She explained that she first started volunteering because it was required for Touchstone Honors. However, even after completing her honors requirement, Gills explained: “I wanted to volunteer again to help out and just kind of keep being involved in that. I didn’t want to just leave it.” Gills’s favorite part of The Big Event was “seeing everything that everyone had worked on together… and how it came together.”
Some members of TWU’s soccer team also participated as a group. Junior Nutrition major and defensive player Emily Russell, explained why she believes it’s important to volunteer: “I’d say do it for multiple reasons. To start with, it looks really good on any kind of resume. And secondly I think that the more involved you get in the community you’re in, the more you’re going to feel like you’re a part of it and belong there. I think I know that first hand because I’m so far away from home right now. It’s good reaching out a little bit.”