TNE Editor

Big Event committee prepares for upcoming service day

Published 10/10/18

Sara Ryals

TNE Writer

NSU has served the Tahlequah community with the largest day of service in the area since 2006. The Big Event allows students to spend the day completing tasks specified by community members. NSU is one of over 70 schools that participate in this nation-wide day of service.

Positions for the 2019 Big Event executive committee were filled in September after an application and interview process. The executive committee is tasked with fundraising, acquiring volunteers, obtaining job sites, marketing and the tool disbursement and upkeep. The committee is directed by two Herb Rozell Scholars. This year’s Big Event directors are Toshali Nutt, Muskogee senior and Lindsey Moore, Collinsville senior. The Big Event committee is advised by Michael Payne, student orientation and community engagement coordinator.

“For me, The Big Event is an awesome opportunity for students to give back to the Tahlequah area,” said Payne. “This allows them to really engage with those around them and to support the area that does so much for the university. I think that The Big Event is a great example of what I like to call communiversity where the community and university combine to create some pretty awesome stuff.”

The Big Event has become the largest one-day, student-ran service project in the nation since its introduction to the Texas A&M campus in 1982.  The message and mission for The Big Event is to simply say “thank you.”

“To me, Big Event means saying thanks,” said Jayci Jones, Big Event operations executive chair. “As college students, we are at a rare point in our lives in which many people from the community are impacting us and Big Event is a great way to thank them.”

Students on the executive board are given the opportunity to play a bigger role in executing the day of service. Each member has a job they oversee to ensure The Big Event is carried out in a proper manner. The operations executive is expected to plan all activities the day of the event. Jones is tasked with booking the location for the start of the day, scheduling speakers and all other needs.

Sara Ryals, Tahlequah junior, is the 2019 Big Event marketing executive chair. Ryals writes press releases, communicates with volunteers and community members via social media outlets and designs marketing materials to better exchange information to the public.

Garrett Tune, Tahlequah freshman, is the Big Event volunteer outreach executive. Tune is expected to obtain volunteers for the day of service. Big Event volunteers are NSU students who give their time for the day of service.

“Big Event is a great opportunity to get volunteer hours,” said Tune. “You also get to create a connection with the community and you get to help in giving back.”

Taylor Austin, Edmond junior, is the Big Event reflection executive chair. Reflection is a time for those who served in The Big Event to come together, share their experiences and celebrate the completion of the event.

“My goal this year is to really include the community in every aspect,” said Austin. “In the past, the reflection has been geared more toward students and faculty who have helped out. I hope to preserve the spirit of community and include the people we have spent the day serving. My hope is that it will be a fun afternoon to reflect on the events of the morning, grow closer with one another and have a great time celebrating our community.”   

Casey Bulman, Claremore sophomore, is the 2019 Big Event tools executive. As the tools chair, Bulman is responsible for the tools assignment for each job site. She must ensure volunteers have the correct supplies to properly complete community service. Bulman is also charged with tool rental throughout the school year.

“Big Event is a chance for me to give back to the community that does so much for NSU,” said Bulman. “I’ve always been passionate about community service and now I have the opportunity to make a positive impact on our community.”

Mollie Hearn, Muldrow junior, is the 2019 Big Event job site executive chair. Hearn is tasked with community outreach. The job site executive chair communicates with previous job site owners to inquire about the needed service. Hearn also facilitates phone calls to potential job site owners. She communicates The Big Event mission and purpose to community members so they become interested and involved. A job site owner is anyone in the community who requires assistance to carry out specific tasks during Big Event.

“For most NSU students, Tahlequah is home for most of the year,” said Austin. “We learn, work and grow in this community at a very important time in our lives. It really is a home away from home and people make lasting friendships with community members outside of campus. This is just one simple way we can give back to Tahlequah for welcoming us and dealing with our college craziness.”

Courtney Langley, Sand Springs junior, serves as The Big Event fundraising executive chair. Langley reaches out to local business entities for sponsorship and funding. She is charged with acquiring donations to offer students as a volunteer incentive and raising funds to better execute Big Event activities.

“As adviser for The Big Event, I see myself as the support for the directors and the rest of the committee,” said Payne. “They are the ones who do the majority of the planning, and I want to make sure they have someone to support them if they need it. I will also be able to check in on the group and make sure that we are staying true to our goals and mission.”

2019 Big Event Directors, Nutt and Moore, oversee the proper execution of all executive chair positions. Directors are chosen based upon an application and interview process with strict requirements. To qualify, students must have completed 90 credit hours by the 2017 spring semester, maintain a 3.25 grade point average, expect to attend NSU for two additional semesters, anticipate earning their baccalaureate degree within the next three semesters and be in good standing with the university.

The first Big Event executive committee meeting is Oct. 15. In the meeting, chairs will discuss expectations and vision for the upcoming year. The date for The Big Event 2019 has not yet been released. With questions about how to volunteer or become a job site, email The Big Event at bigevent@nsuok.edu.   


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