When Aggies put their minds to something, it usually becomes big.
And one of the biggest things A&M students get a chance to do is participate in The Big Event each spring.
What started in 1982 on a very simple premise—saying “Thank You!” to the people of Bryan-College Station—has turned into the largest one-day student-run service project in the entire country.
Organizers estimated over 21,000 students spent part of this past Saturday doing nearly 3,000 service projects in and around town.
Included in that number were dozens of student-athletes, joining their fellow Aggies to show appreciation and thanks to members of the community.
Football had a scrimmage scheduled for the day of Big Event, so the team unofficially “kicked off” the day of service by spending Friday afternoon at Twin City Mission in Bryan. The Aggies cleaned the playground, picked up trash, washed down windows and doors, and freshened up flower beds.
“We have a great relationship with Twin City Mission,” Kevin Sumlin said. “But I think also (it’s important) for these guys to get out in the community, to be a part of something outside of Athletics and something bigger than themselves. Twin City Mission provides this whole area with a service that a lot of people may or may not know about. It gives our guys a different perspective on their lives and how fortunate they are right now.”
The football team channels much of its community service efforts each year toward Twin City Mission. For the Aggies who’ve been on the roster and been able to give back before, it’s a day they look forward to.
“It’s a great experience,” Christian Kirk said. “The relationship we have with Twin City Mission is something that’s unique to A&M itself and our team. It’s something we take part in every year—this is my third year—and every year is so special. We love coming out here.”
“I’m just excited to be a part of this,” Trayveon Williams added. “We’ve been fortunate to be blessed with so many things, and I’m just glad we can give back in some kind of way.”
Many of the teams were in competition at home, or traveling, but those that were in town were well-represented Saturday.
Members of the swimming and diving, golf and volleyball teams helped out in just about any way you can think of—tilling flower beds, placing mulch, painting, trimming trees, cleaning out kitchens and garages, and working on lawns—at locations all over town.
No matter the job, the message from all the participants was the same.
“Big Event is just so important to the volleyball team,” said Amy Nettles, who will be a senior in the fall. “Service, being involved in the community and getting to know our fans is so important. We love building relationships and helping people who need it.”
“It means a lot,” added Maddie Szeryk, a junior on the women’s golf team. “I think this is the least we can do for our community. It’s awesome that so many people take part in it.”
The men’s golf team will host its annual Aggie Invitational this weekend at Traditions Club, but took the opportunity to take a break from the links Saturday morning to give back.
“Big Event means a lot to us as a team,” said senior Mickey Werenski. “We like to give back to the community as much as we can. The Aggie community does so much for us that we have to thank them in some kind of way.”
Fresh off helping the women’s swimming and diving team to a school-record third-place finish last weekend at the NCAA Championships, All-American Lisa Bratton and her teammates were excited that they could participate.
“Big Event is my favorite service thing we do every year,” Bratton said. “The community does so much for Texas A&M Athletics alone, so for us to come out here and give back and help out around the community…it’s just a great way to spend a day.”
With his coaches and a contigent of his teammates in Indianapolis over the weekend competing at the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, junior Duncan Mulleady spearheaded a group to go out and take part in The Big Event.
“Every month we try to do one community service event for the whole team to help out and say thank you,” Mulleady said. “This is a great event. It’s not just about us, the swim team…it’s about the Aggie Spirit and all the Aggies giving back today.”