Make A List For LU Students' Big Thank You

Published 3:50 pm Thursday, January 27, 2011

No, not another Christmas gift list but, yes, Farmville, Virginia, there is something like a “Santa” effect associated with this list and what seems like an entire student body of “Santa's elves” to help make your wish list come true. Let's call them students in the art of giving. The subject isn't Christmas but it is a big event. Longwood University's Big Event, in fact.

And the list that Longwood students want you to compile is of the community service projects you'd like them to perform for you on March 26. So it is not too early at all to make the list and send it off to LU's Big Event coordinators.

“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 in November, “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.”

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Longwood students are putting together their third Big Event, a community service project born at Texas A&M University in 1982 that has spread to campuses nationwide. Ms. Spraker told Town Council the Big Event “is aimed at showing appreciation to the community” for all that Farmville means to LU students during their college careers.

So by all means give these estimable young people a way to express their thanks. Yard work, organizing, painting, and light construction are just a few of the ways students are prepared to say 'Thank You' on that Saturday in March. “Pretty much, we're wide open,” Ms. Spraker said, regarding what types of work the students are willing to do that day.

More than 500 Longwood University students participated in The Big Event last year, performing 50 community service jobs, and the goal is double that in March-1,000 students at 100 different job sites.

The Big Event's brochure describes the Longwood students' intentions this way: “Promoting campus and community unity as students join together to express their gratitude for the continuous support that the Farmville community offers us during our college careers.”

Given the enthusiasm of Longwood's student body, there is no doubt here that The Big Event's goals will be met, with the support of the Farmville community. Anything we can do to help is crucial, of course, because to give a gift there must be someone to accept it.

And as we think of ways to receive these gifts from Longwood students, let us also take the opportunity to thank them, in return, for all that they and Longwood University mean to this community. Without them, we would be just another small town that people drive through on their way to the Farmville we are lucky enough to be.

There is nothing “just” about Farmville and it is self-evident that Longwood and its students are absolutely at the crucial core of this truth.

In the end, Longwood University and its students aren't Santa or Santa's elves. Together, they really are the gift that keeps on giving to this community all year long. They volunteer in our community, they work in our community, they shop in our community, they study, dream their dreams here, cry their tears, and raise their hearts in exultation-they live here with us in all the ways that living in a community means.

They are far more than numbers in the Census count.

On March 26, what some folks may take for granted, and what other towns wish they could call their own, will be giving us a town-wide thank you.

Let's give them a town-wide thank you of our own.

(The Big Event's website is: and the email address is, or you can call 395-2111 to put your community service project on their list or, if you feel a Santa spirit of you own, donations are needed to help purchase rakes and other tools for this and subsequent Big Events.)