University hosts its first ‘Big Event’ after two years of planning

By Diamond Jones

More than a dozen SIU departments and off-campus sponsors will come together Saturday to present the largest student-run service day in Carbondale.

The Big Event, a nationwide community service project, makes its debut in Carbondale with help from 1,000 students, faculty and staff. Volunteers will participate in community projects alongside local nonprofit organizations that work toward improving the area.

Nick Weshinskey, co-director and University Program Coordinator, said the function’s committee has been planning the event for the past two years.


“We want to make sure it’s flawless and that participants feel as though they’re a part of something big,” Weshinskey said.

Weshinskey said the original idea came from Texas A&M University, where the administration thought an event should be held to show community appreciation. Founded in 1982 and involving more than 10,00 participants, the event is now celebrated on more than 100 campuses in the U.S.

“This is an event where it’s not meant to make any money or what we can get out of it,” Weshinskey said. “It’s about what we can give back to the Carbondale community.”

Participating organizations include Touch of Nature, Carbondale Main Street, Green Earth, Inc., the Humane Society, Keep Carbondale Beautiful, Boys & Girls Club of Carbondale, American Cancer Society, SIU’s Leadership Development Program, Autism Society of Illinois-Southern Illinois, Stay Safe Family Fun Fest and For Kids’ Sake.

Volunteers have the opportunity to take part in a city-wide clean-up, strengthen advocacy and knowledge on cases of cancer and autism, make mats for homeless people, plant flowers and trees and assist with food pantries and blood drives.

“I hope everyone completes this event with their heart full of pride,” Weshinskey said. “I want them to feel like they were a part of something bigger than any of us.”

The Big Event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at various locations on and off-campus. More information about the university’s Big Event can found on its webpage.


Campus reporter Diamond Jones can be reached at [email protected], 618-536-3325 or on Twitter @_dimewrites.

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