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Big Event calls for jobsites

When is Longwood’s Big Event, and how do I submit my project?

By Carson Reeher

Special to The Farmville Herald

Longwood University is preparing for its annual Big Event, one where Longwood students assemble for a day of service in the Farmville community each spring.

This year the Big Event will take place on Saturday starting at 9 a.m.

During the day, students are assigned to groups and jobsites. Volunteers work with a variety of town residents, community businesses and public properties.

Throughout the morning, volunteers will complete service-oriented tasks, such as “window washing, yard work, interior/exterior painting, tutoring children, picking up trash, and much more,“ according to the Big Event’s website. 

These tasks are meant to assist residents in need.

“We will have approximately 70 jobsites located all over town,” said Big Event Director Manuel Dwyer, and currently have 370 students signed up to serve.”

One student, Jessica Billings, who participated in a past Big Event, said that she spent time volunteering at the Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library. “We worked to organize various sections, as well as prepare pamphlets for workshops that the library would be hosting for the community.”

She said giving back to the community as her main motivator for participating in service, such as this one. Billings said that she feels that “it’s important for (students) to get out of (their) ‘university bubble.’’’

The first Big Event occurred during March 2008, inspired by a desire to give back to the community. Since then the event has continued to grow and gain support. 

The Big Event’s website boasts that it is “the largest campuswide community service project of Longwood’s history.”

Last year’s event brought out over 400 students who provided service to more than 80 jobsites in the area.

Kassie Fralick, a Longwood senior, said, “I love the Big Event because it gets students out in the Farmville community and is a great way for students to not only give back to our community, but also it’s also an opportunity to meet other students you may not have otherwise met.” 

Fralick has participated in the event each year she’s been at Longwood.

Some of the locations she has volunteered at include the home of a Longwood alumni and the Farmville-Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

The event’s website states, “The students of Longwood University are thankful to the Town of Farmville for letting Longwood and its students live and prosper here and wish to give back!”

This day each year is planned and executed by Longwood students as a way to express their gratitude to the town of Farmville.

“It is important to remember The Big Event is not about the number of jobs completed or the number of students who participate each year. Instead, it is the interaction between the Longwood University community and Farmville residents and the unity that results throughout the community that makes The BIG Event such a unique project,” the website states.

Residents interested in having their property listed as a job site or students interested in volunteering can sign up and get more information at www.longwoodbigevent.org or by contacting Dwyer at (757) 504-6340 or manuel.dwyer@live.longwood.edu.