‘The Big Event:’ serving the New Haven community

Max Bickley – General Assignment Reporter

Southern’s mission statement says that it is “committed to academic excellence, access, social justice, and service for the public good,” and this past weekend the student run “Big Event” provided community service for the New Haven and Hamden area. Though the weather was grey, students from Southern in bright green were sent to different sites across New Haven and Hamden to provide community services in the form of gardening and trash pick-up.

These students who volunteered upwards of four hours of their day to helping the community were in teams as they went to work in the city. “The Big Event” is the second large-scale community service of the year at Southern, next to the “Day of Service” in the fall semester. This year marks the third year that Southern has conducted this mainly student run event, and as according to Rachel Noto, a graduate student for Student Involvement, the “Big Event” lives up to its name.

“‘The Big Event’ is our annual community service event in the spring semester at Southern,” said Noto. “We have usually close to 400 students who are sent to sites in New Haven and Hamden to help with trash pick-up and gardening.”

Continuing from this, Noto remarks that the service done at “The Big Event” pulls together not only the students participating, but ties them into a larger community.

“Unlike the ‘Day of Service’ in the fall semester, ‘The Big Event’ is organized almost entirely by students, and everyone involved really grows into a community,” said Noto. “Not only that, but it reminds us as students that we are a part of a bigger community that we can do such good work for.”

The event, which is organized by service chairpersons who are also students and graduates on campus, held not only registry, but also a walk-in registry as well. As the Farnham Programming Space filled with students, Chairperson for the event and student, Corey Evans remarked on the significance of the event.

“If you look at Southern’s mission statement, it talks about serving the community, and that is what “The Big Event” is, serving the community,” said Evans. “It just goes to show that there is this strong relationship between New Haven and Southern, and that we are part of a much bigger community.”

Not only is this the case, but the event also holds significance to Evans who is working his first year as service chairperson for the event.

“This is my first year actually organizing everything  and it’s exciting to see everyone getting involved,” said Evans. “What it comes down to though, is that I think it is especially important to remember that we are part of this larger community, and we should do all we can to help it.”

One of the students at the event, Bryce Gentino, was one of the service chairs working for the event while also participating in the work behind it. According to Gentino, the act of giving to the community and providing for it is just as rewarding as it is significant.

“I decided to join in the event, outside of working the tables, because it’s important in connecting students to Southern and Southern to the greater New Haven area,” said Gentino. “It’s rewarding, being able to help out the city and other people, and I think if students have the opportunity to participate they should.” 

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