Aggies Give Back To Local Community During 41st Annual Big Event
Roughly 15,000 Aggies worked across 2,000 job sites across Bryan-College Station Saturday as a way to say “thank you” to the local community.
For the 41st year, Texas A&M University students completed service projects during The Big Event – the largest one-day, student-run service project in the country. The annual event serves as an opportunity to bridge the gap between the student body and members of the community, who sign up to have student volunteers visit their homes to lend a helping hand.
At the home of College Station resident Mohamed Vali, students planted flowers and added fresh mulch to the flower beds. It was a simple job, but Vali said the students’ help was much appreciated.
“I have Parkinson’s disease. I cannot move around, so I fall easily,” he said. “So any help I can get, I’m very happy and thankful to them.”
Volunteers gathered in Aggie Park on the Texas A&M campus Saturday morning for a kickoff event, where The Big Event Director Landry Rickabaugh ’23 told students she hoped they would bring the same spirit of gratitude into their future endeavors.
The tradition, which was started in 1982 by Texas A&M student Joe Nussbaum, is one that sets the university apart from others, Rickabaugh said.
“I think the Aggie Spirit is so special because it is one that insists upon being demonstrated, with unity that permeates the university being something that each of us yearns for in every gesture, selfless service being the thing that our hearts are prone to execute, and the understanding that the value found in tradition is extraordinary,” she said.
The thousands of students who fanned out across town to wash windows, rake leaves, clean gutters and paint houses, just to name a few of the tasks performed, are a representation of how Aggies live out the university’s Core Values, said Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks.
At Henderson Elementary School in Bryan, Banks joined students in beautification work around the school, including mulching, raking and planting in the campus courtyard’s butterfly garden and painting an obstacle course on the outdoor basketball court.
Jair Leija ’25, an agricultural economics major who volunteered at Vali’s home in Collee Station, described The Big Event as an opportunity to serve the community members who support the student body year-round.
“It’s just amazing to be able to give back to such a wonderful community that always has our backs,” he said.