Oxford’s most charitable event begins Saturday

Posted on Apr 1 2016 - 7:32am by Tousley Leake

Oxford’s biggest day of community service is this Saturday.

The Big Event was created in 2011 as a way for students at the University to give back to the Oxford and Lafayette County while building positive relationships with the communities.

Volunteer participants split up into groups and travel to different projects around town. Projects include painting, yard work, washing windows, cleaning, assisting the elderly and more.

(Photo by: Kayla Beatty) Santonio Chandler and Ashunti Robinson bag leaves during last year's Big Event.

(Photo by: Kayla Beatty)
Santonio Chandler and Ashunti Robinson bag leaves during last year’s Big Event.

There are more than 140 projects planned for Saturday and at least 1,600 students registered to participate. Walk-ins are also welcome to come on Saturday and volunteer.

Junior public policy major Austin Powell is this year’s assistant director for the event.

Powell ran into an upperclassman who was involved in the Big Event during Rebel RoundUp at orientation before his freshman year and participated every year since.

“She made Ole Miss seem like the students were just as concerned with the Oxford-Lafayette community as I was in high school about the Corinth community,” Powell said. “Her enthusiasm and genuine passion made me feel like I aligned with Big Event’s mission statement.”

Students will meet at at 8 a.m. in the Pavilion to check in and split into groups. This year’s keynote speaker, Ole Miss linebacker Deterrian Shackelford, will give a speech to motivate the group for the day.

Student team leaders will lead individual projects. Barrett Climer, a sophomore IMC major, is one of these leaders.

“I am so ready to work on our service project,” Climer said. “I want to inspire my group to give back not only at the Big Event, but every day of the year.”

Senior English major Melissa Ramsey is serving as a co-director for the event.

“I’m most excited about the Ole Miss family coming together to give back to the community that gives us the best four years of our lives,” Ramsey said. “We often forget how much the residents of Oxford and Lafayette county do for us as students – they provide us with safety, happiness, and a home away from home. The Big Event is our way of saying ‘thanks’ for everything this awesome community provides.”

Ramsey said she encourages everyone to come out and volunteer this Saturday to make the biggest day of service in Oxford even bigger.