A few days ago we had the privilege of attending The Big Event as corporate sponsors. Arriving on Friday, the day before the enormous service project began, the second we stepped foot on campus, we were greeted by Mark Lutz, an exec on The Big Event committee, as well as a handful of other staff members. For a years worth of work to come to a pinnacle the following day, everyone was enthusiastic and confident in what was to come.
For those who don’t know much about The Big Event, it is the largest, one day student-run service project in the nation. Started in 1982 by then student body vice president Joe Nussbaum, the project immediately took hold and has grown into a nation wide day of service, known as “The One Big Day.” Texas A&M students hold an annual conference at the university to educate students across the nation on how to initiate and operate a one day service project on their campuses. Over the last couple of years, The Big Event has even spread worldwide.
To actually be on campus on “the day of” is an extraordinary experience. Mobs of students begin showing up at 7:00 am on a Saturday morning, and don’t stop showing up till 9:00 am, when the opening ceremony begins. At that time, over 21,000 students are littered across the enormous field at Research Park. That’s almost one out of every two students enrolled at Texas A&M. No where else in the nation could anything like that happen.
The Big Event execs, committee and staff assistants run a tight ship, signing up group leaders and assigning tools for their specific service project. Groups are split up into sizes as small as five and as big as thirty, based on the project they’ll be completing. Group leaders find their groups, grab their tools and carpool out to their job site. It’s a logistics project of epic proportions, run all by students out of the goodness of their hearts.
We at Wellborn Road Productions got to set up a tent to tell of our own project, which, much like The Big Event, seeks to give back to students at Texas A&M. We had twelve interns with us that morning to work our tent and step-and-repeat backdrop, where groups could come take pictures to commemorate their day together. We had the great privilege of receiving donations from our friends at Caldwell Country and Aggieland Outfitters, who graciously donated a $250 gift card to raffle off to students who chose to give their Saturday to service of the community.
Throughout the morning, we told people about our documentary film, Breaking Tradition: Ride for the Brand, which is giving 50% of our proceeds back to scholarships at the university. We talked to over 1,000 students in a matter of four hours, and truly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with some of the finest students in the world.
We can’t thank The Big Event enough for allowing us the opportunity to be a corporate sponsor and for letting us be there on the day of The Big Event. It was a refreshing experience, reminding us all of why we’re doing what we’re doing. As Dr. R. Bowen Loftin used to say, “It’s all about the students.” Gig ‘em.