Students give back with Big Event

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Freshman Kaitlyn LeBlanc and sophomore Kelly Liles clean up around Black Creek at the Big Event Saturday morning. Hunt Mercier/Printz
Freshman Kaitlyn LeBlanc and sophomore Kelly Liles clean up around Black Creek at the Big Event Saturday morning.
Hunt Mercier/Printz

Approximately 1,000 students from The University of Southern Mississippi gathered Saturday, March 22 to give back to the Hattiesburg community as part of the Big Event.

The SGA-sponsored day of community service was spread over 35-40 locations across the Hub City. Students were working on campus doing landscaping and recycling, and some were out in the community working at places like the Juvenile Detention Center, Southern Pines Animal Shelter, Wesley Manor and the Arc.

Elyssa Klipsch, a junior education major and Big Event director, said it meant a lot to her to help organize the day because she enjoys serving the community and it was important to her to help students take part in the events.
“It is very important that the community comes together and helps each other because that is how we grow as a school and as a community, so I think that (Big Event) is a great experience,” said Danielle Laws a junior education major and one of the students working with landscaping on campus.

Southern Miss student Bobbi Lambert helps wash a puppy at Southern Pines Animal Shelter during the Big Event on Saturday morning.
Southern Miss student Bobbi Lambert helps wash a puppy at Southern Pines Animal Shelter during the Big Event on Saturday morning.
Zachary Odom / Printz

SGA President Ann Marie Chilcutt said it is amazing for her to be able to contribute to the community that supports Southern Miss events and gives to the university monetarily.

“I think, for me, the purpose that we are here as students is to get an education, but the opportunity to get the full college experience and give back to the place that has given us so much is really the root of what this is,” Chilcutt said.

The Big Event began a few years ago at Texas A&M University and has become an event that college campuses have picked up all over the United States and internationally.

“It is kind of neat because college students all around are starting this event where they are giving back to the communities where their universities exist,” Chilcutt said. “People see how much it leaves an impact.”