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Hundreds of students participate in The Big Event, Southeastern's annual community service effort
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Nearly 600 Southeastern students gathered Saturday, March 15, to participate in The Big Event, the university's annual day of community service. Students spent the day cleaning parks, painting pavilions and assisting the elderly at 15 jobsites in nearby Hammond and Ponchatoula.
"The Big Event helps students realize just how much the Hammond area gives to Southeastern and its students. Our aim is to express gratitude and to offer our services in return," said Zachary Whitehead, student project manager of the event sponsored by Southeastern's Student Government Association.
Originating at Texas A&M University in 1982, The Big Event has grown to include many other universities. Southeastern students have volunteered thousands of service hours since joining the cause four years ago.
Sophomore Cierra McDaniel paints a wall in the offices of Child Advocacy Services in Hammond during The Big Event.
The Big Event is planned and executed by a student executive board each year. This year's effort was led by Whitehead, co-directors Taylor Petit and Brennan McAndrew, internal recruitment manager Nibha Manandhar, sponsorship manager Renee Picou and design chair Ivy Gonzales.
Individual students as well as members of Southeastern's many student organizations – including Greek organizations, the Public Relations Student Society of America and the National Society for Collegiate Scholars – participated in this year's event to give back to the local community.
As participating students assembled in the Stadium parking garage before going to their assignments, Southeastern President John L. Crain offered some words of encouragement.
"This demonstrates that you understand that education is much more than books and
classwork," he said. "You're showing that you know if you want to be part of a good
community, you have to give back to that community. This makes me very proud of you,
Student Victoria Davidson contributed to this story.