Aggieland Resident Grateful For 40 Years Of Service From The Big Event
The Texas A&M University student organization The Big Event last Saturday celebrated its 40th anniversary, and College Station resident Danny Stribling said he’s been a grateful recipient of the service project for the entire four decades.
“To me it was a celebration, even from the beginning,” said Stribling, who first began with The Big Event when he was the principal of Oakwood Intermediate School in College Station and 30 Aggie students spent a day painting the school’s gym. “It was a great day – pizza was eaten.”
The Big Event, started by Texas A&M student Joe Nussbaum in 1982, began as a small community beautification effort and has grown to become the nation’s largest one-day, student-led service project, spreading to over 100 other universities. The project is designed to promote unity between the campus and local community, and for students to express their gratitude for community members’ continued support of the university.
This Saturday nearly 14,000 students completed more than 1,900 jobs across Bryan and College Station, including one at Stribling’s home, where students cleaned windows and did spring planting.
“We just love the college students. A&M is such as integral part of the community and they’re wanting to tell us thanks for our support,” said Stribling, who received his Ph.D. in educational administration at Texas A&M in 1992.
Elsewhere Saturday, Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks and her husband Paul could be found, shovels in hand. Banks joined Aggies at Neal Elementary School in Bryan where they worked on raised flower beds and a wheelchair/walker path for the school’s garden, which was created and is maintained by the fourth-grade classes.
Anna Pritchard, a 2021 A&M graduate from Tyler who is now seeking her master’s degree in biomedical engineering, handled donor relations for this year’s Big Event and was also at Neal. She said coming out of the pandemic, it’s been wonderful to see project fully back in action.
“It has been incredible to see this happen especially after the past two years, not being able to have it to its the full extent,” Pritchard said. “It’s been fun to see it all come together, especially this year being the 40th year of our organization.”
Aggies often volunteer for The Big Event along with students from their respective organizations. So was the case for Elena de Valcourt ’23, a sociology major from Victoria and a member of the Texas A&M Emergency Care Team.
“Being able to give back to the community is big for me because as a college student, this community feeds me, it’s where I live, and I want it to prosper. For me this feels fulfilling,” she said. “And I’m glad to be able to represent Texas A&M Emergency Care Team here at Big Event because service such a big part of what we do.”
Stribling said each year, he makes sure the Aggies who volunteer for him have a good time. “One year, I remember the women’s golf team and their coach came out and we had a great time,” he said. “It’s March, of course, so we had March Madness playing on the TV and when we were done working, they wanted to stay and finish watching the game.”
He said he’s proud to see Aggies continuing to display the university’s core value of selfless service. “I don’t know any other university that lives out its core values like A&M,” he said. “It’s about putting others first.”