LU's Big Event Will Become Even Bigger

Published 4:27 pm Thursday, December 2, 2010

FARMVILLE – The Big Event is going to get even bigger.

And the Longwood University community service project is going to get even better.

On top of being such an immense success last year that it became the largest campus-wide community service project in Longwood's history.

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The student-led project will be held on March 26, 2011 but plans are well underway.

The Big Event, originated at Texas A&M University in 1982, is already circulating job request forms to give students productive community service jobs to perform that day. And sponsors are also being sought to help provide funding and donations of tools are being accepted too.

“Our main goal is to pretty much make it bigger and better than ever before,” Longwood student, Molly Spraker, and The Big Event's overall 2011 Director, told Town Council last month, “and to reach as many residents and organizations in Farmville, to do any kind of work that we can for you guys, whether it be for residents-painting, yard work.”

In its third year at Longwood, The Big Event “is aimed at showing appreciation to the community,” she explained, accompanied by fellow Longwood student, Megan Lamson, who is Director of Logistics for the 2011 version.

Promoting campus and community unity, The Big Event's promotional brochure declares, as students join together to express their gratitude for the continuous support that the Farmville community offers us during our college careers.

That thanks is expressed, hands-on, in a multitude of ways.

Regarding the types of community service jobs-yard work, organizing, painting, and light construction, for example-Ms. Spraker told council members “pretty much, we're wide open.”

With sights aimed high.

“We're trying to get 100 job sites this year,” Ms. Lamson said, “and a thousand students out. We want to make it bigger and better every year.”

More than 500 students participated last year, performing over 50 community service jobs and showing how rapidly The Big Event is gaining popularity on campus and reaching out into the community-in 2009 there had been a dozen jobs and 250 participating students.

Alluding to the availability of sponsorships, Ms. Spraker said, “We don't have much funding for this event. We want to raise that awareness and talk about some of the ways businesses in Farmville could get involved…”

Monetary donations are used only to buy the needed tools and supplies, which can also be directly donated.

“We would also love to take any old items, whether it be old rakes, anything like that,” Ms. Spraker said. “That's where all of our funding goes. So any money or donations that we get as an organization are put right back out into the community by getting those tools needed.”

The tools, typically, are plastic and metal rakes, shovels, hammers, hand saws, clippers and wheelbarrows, with the supplies including paper towels, Windex, work gloves, trash bags, paint trays, paint rollers and brushes.

The two LU students were determined to deliver their message to Town Council.

“Spread the word and make sure everybody knows it's going to be an annual event,” Ms. Spraker said. “We're really excited about it. It's now happening on more than 70 campuses nationwide and we want this to be something people really look forward to…”

Reflecting on the progress Longwood's The Big Event has made in a very short time, and the dreams students have to make it more emphatic, Ms. Lamson described it as “a work in progress. We definitely need your help and support.”

“Help us help you,” Town Council was told.

(The Big Event's website is: and the email address is, or you can call 395-2111)