The Big Event, one of the longest service projects in Grand Forks, is right around the corner. On its 12th year, this year’s event is set for April 30.
The program came to UND in 2001, starting in the Memorial Union’s Ballroom with around 200 to 300 people. The annual event is takes place on a single day where individuals from campus get a chance to interact with the Grand Forks and East Grand Forks community
“I think it builds a positive relationship within the community. There’s so many people on our campus that enjoy volunteering, that enjoy doing great things in our Community,” said Stephanie Lee a UND senior who is co-president of the event committee. “This is our way of contributing to that.”
Last year’s Big Event had 1,000 UND students, faculty and staff participate. Job sites include private residents, Dakota Ranch and cleaning up the Grand Forks and East Grand Forks parks.
“We are hoping to have about 1,200 volunteers this year. We like to see the volunteers increase every year,” Lee said. “I think everyone has an instinct to give back to the community, and it’s a way for students to interact with the community that they usually wouldn’t.”
Students can volunteer either in groups or individually online through the website und.edu/events/big-events/big-event. The size of the group does not matter.
“We have had Greek houses sign up as a group, and even resident halls sign up all together,” Lee said.
Individuals can sign up as well, but they will paired up in a bigger group with other individuals.
This year’s colors for the event are green and blue. Every year the Big Event gives volunteers shirts, a water bottle and a snack. No shirts have ever been matching in color since UND started the organization. The Big Event consists of three different branches; promotion, sponsorship and volunteering.
The Big Event has recently started promoting the event this past week with flyers, social media such as Twitter and Facebook — with a special hashtag #DoWork2016, to get people involved online.
Sponsorships are from a variety of businesses, including Gate City Bank, Bremer Bank, Hugo’s and Hornbacher’s, the organization is hoping to receive $10,000 to help with costs of essential projects needed for specific service projects.
“The volunteering branch of the organization reaches for jobs in our community; whether it is at the Senior Citizen Center, a church, or cleaning gutters at a private residence,” Lee said. “We like to push this involvement in the fall, so more people can join.”
Check-in is at the UND Wellness Center, where they will grab their supplies and head to their project. Sign-in starts at 9 a.m. April 30, and most groups and individuals will be at their service location by 10 a.m. Lee said most groups are done by 2 p.m. Transportation and parking passes are not supplied.
Haley Olson is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]