Three young women are smiling at the camera while holding the debris they have just collected from the ground.

March 21, 2023

Media Advisory: SIU’s biggest one-day service event, The Big Event, set for March 25

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Big Event: A Saluki Day of Service, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s largest one-day service event will be on Saturday, March 25, and reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover it.

Each year, hundreds of students donate their time and energy to benefit local facilities and organizations. In 2023, Salukis will be assisting with 16 community service projects at locations throughout the area. The Big Event is SIU’s way of showing gratitude to the region for its support of the university and its people, and campus officials also hope it inspires students to a year-round spirit of community service and involvement.

Students plan the day

SIU’s Big Event, which is modeled after the day founded in 1982 at Texas A&M University, is planned by and focuses on students and their efforts. Students volunteer their time, working 9 a.m. to noon or 1-4 p.m. or even both shifts on Saturday in support of area nonprofit organizations. At each location, a student site leader will arrive about a half-hour prior to the start of the service work.

Members of the media are welcome to speak with student site leaders, and other student volunteers may be available for comment and photos or video as well. Many of the service projects take place outdoors, and all projects will go on rain or shine. This is the sixth year Salukis have hosted The Big Event.

The timetable

The schedule for the 2023 Big Event: A Saluki Day of Service, along with the beneficiary organization, location, time SIU volunteers will be on site and a brief description of each project, includes:

Morning-only events

  • Francis CARE Shelter: 6228 Country Club Road, Murphysboro. Students will work on the grounds laying rocks and help exercise the animals.
  • Boys and Girls Club of Southern Illinois, 250 N. Springer St., Carbondale. Salukis will be assisting with maintenance and yard work.
  • Carbondale Public Library, 405 W. Main St., Carbondale. Students will clean up around the exterior of the library and help organize inside.
  • Eurma C. Hayes Community Center, 441 E. Willow St., Carbondale. Volunteers will help with yard work and lifting/moving things.
  • Green Earth Inc.: Green Earth Preserve, 2009 W. Freeman/intersection of Emerald and West Freeman Streets, Carbondale. Students will help with trail building and upgrades.

Afternoon-only projects

  • For Kids’ Sake, 100 E. Jackson St., Carbondale. Workers will assist with cleaning and organizing the facility.
  • Rainbow Café, 1320 S. Giant City Road, Suite F, Carbondale. Volunteers will assist with cleaning, renovations and moving items.
  • Wesley Foundation: 816 S. Illinois Ave., Carbondale. Helpers will assist with cleaning and organizing the pantry and packing food.
  • University Farms, 2705 Union Hill Road, Carbondale. Workers will paint gates at the Bull Testing Center on the 2,000-acre working farm, forest system and agricultural research and education laboratory.

All-day locations

  • Brehm Preparatory School, 950 S. Brehm Lane, Carbondale. Volunteers will help clean up the campus, assist with gardening and work with the animal and nature classroom.
  • Humane Society of Southern Illinois, 95 Humane Road, Murphysboro. Students will help with cleaning and moving large items.
  • Touch of Nature Environmental Center, 1206 Touch of Nature Road/about 8 miles south of Carbondale off Giant City Road, Makanda. Two separate projects will be underway. Volunteers will help spruce up Camp 1 by picking up large sticks and debris and will help with the big annual Maple Syrup Festival by serving food and cleaning up.
  • Gaia House Interfaith Center, 913 S. Illinois Ave., Carbondale. Salukis will assist with yard work.
  • Keep Carbondale Beautiful, sites around Carbondale. Students will pick up litter and clean the community.
  • Survivor Empowerment Center, 610 S. Thompson St., Carbondale. Volunteers will organize donations.

For more information

If you have questions about The 2023 Big Event: A Saluki Day of Service, visit or contact Kathy Smith-Shaffer, assistant dean of students, at or 618-453-7521.