April 05, 2018

Opportunities remain to join ‘The Big Event’ on Saturday

It’s not too late for faculty, staff and students to participate in one of the largest one-day service projects in the nation — the second “The Big Event: A Saluki Day of Service.

Interested participants in the university community who have not yet signed up can check-in beginning at 7 a.m., April 7, in the Student Center’s John W. Corker Lounge. Nearly 700 students, faculty, and staff have signed up so far to participate in the “Saluki Day of Service,” which aspires to give back to our local community while encouraging year-round community engagement.

The event is modeled after one founded at Texas A&M University in 1982 that draws more than 10,000 participants each year. It is now on more than 100 campuses across the United States and at universities in Australia, Germany, Italy, Pakistan and Spain.

This year’s SIU Carbondale event is student-planned and oriented. Student volunteers will begin arriving to check in at 7 a.m. Saturday in the Student Center John W. Corker Lounge. Chancellor Carlo Montemagno will address the volunteers at 8 a.m. Saturday in the Student Center Ballrooms.

There are two, three-hour shifts during the day, said Will Schefelbein, a senior in business management from Peoria, who is serving as the event’s executive director. The morning shift is from 9 a.m. to noon, and the afternoon shift is from 1 to 4 p.m.

“We want to continue to build that relationship between SIU and Carbondale,” he said.

Saluki volunteers will work in teams to complete projects for non-profit agencies and organizations in the Carbondale area. The day will begin with a kick-off ceremony in the Student Center before volunteers depart in teams to non-profit sites around Carbondale. Volunteers will be participating in a variety of service-related activities including downtown cleanup, nature trail clearing, food pantry packaging, and more. 

There are 18 direct or indirect service projects to participate in. A direct project is where students will take a bus and go into the community, while indirect service projects are on campus or within walking distance of campus.

Some of the service projects include volunteering for:

  • Carbondale Main Street
  • Francis CARE Animal Shelter
  • Alzheimer’s Association
  • Humane Society of Southern Illinois
  • SIU Student Sustainable Farms
  • Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale
  • Carbondale Police Department
  • The Women’s Center, Inc.
  • American Red Cross

Schefelbein said the project is of value to students to learn to serve their communities after graduation.

“It’s one day where a large portion of our campus goes out in the community and performs service work for non-profit organizations who would not receive it,” he added.

Faculty, staff and students who are volunteering or who want to learn more can visit the event website. As a reminder, children are not able to participate in this event.

For more information or question, email “The Big Event: A Saluki Day of Service” at thebigevent@siu.edu.