South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

‘The Big Event’ strengthens volunteer bonds


In an effort to bridge the gap between South Dakota State students and the Brookings community, the Student Sustainability Council is hosting The Big Event, a community-wide volunteer day.

“The community does a lot for SDSU, but sometimes it is tough for students to get off campus and really expand in the community,” said Claire Dueter, junior global studies and political science major and secretary of the Student Sustainability council. “The Big Event is trying to connect the two through volunteering.”

Dueter said the purpose of the event is not necessarily because the community needs help, but rather to build relationships and strengthen the community.

According to Kory Heier, junior mathematics major and president of the Student Sustainability Council, The Big Event was started by students at Texas A&M in the 1980s, but it’s a first at SDSU.

“It has grown to over 22,000 students and every spring they get together at Texas A&M and volunteer in their community and that has spread to over 100 universities,” Heier said.

Anna Barr, vice president of the Student Sustainability Council and junior dietetics major, said the idea was brought up at the first SDSU Student Sustainability council meeting and the planning began in October.

“First semester was a lot of just behind the scenes, talking to people who work in student affairs, asking is this actually possible statistically and can we do this at SDSU,” she said.

This semester, the Student Sustainability Council broke off into community and student organizing groups. The community organizing group has started to find different sites in the community to volunteer at. The student organizing group is working on educating students about The Big Event and encouraging them to participate.

Students and their group will be paired with a home, business or organization in the community to volunteer with for three hours. Barr said they are aiming to have 200 students participate.

“We have reached out to Greek Life and Athletics. We also have 12 to 15 meetings scheduled with different clubs to ask them if they would like to participate,” she said.

Barr also said the clubs will take as many student volunteers as they can get, and the volunteers do not have to be part of a group.

Not only does the council have to reach out to students, but also the community. So far, all the schools in Brookings have been reached, Heier said.

He said Dakota Prairie, one of the job sites groups can volunteer at, is building an outdoor classroom with an elevated garden, creek and bridge.

“It is actually really perfect timing because they do not really have the manpower to do it, so then we can help them with that,” Heier said.

Other job sites include Cottonwood Bistro, the Special Olympic’s polar plunge fundraiser, the Humane Society, and Habitat for Humanity.

The Big Event’s motto is, “One Big Day, One Big Thanks, One Big Event.” As the event approaches, the Student Sustainability Council encourages students to sign up.

The Big Event will take place on April 14 and will bring community members and students together.

“For any student who is thankful to the Brookings community, it will be a day to say thank you,” Barr said.

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