Joe Nussbaum ’84 didn’t intend to found the largest one-day, student-run service project in the nation. In fact, he didn’t intend to plan a service project at all. The first Big Event occurred 40 years ago, when a student mistakenly joined Nussbaum’s student services committee thinking it would be a volunteer opportunity.
Rather than brush off the student’s misinterpretation, Nussbaum decided it was time for Texas A&M University students to give back to the Bryan-College Station community. “The first Big Event was chaotic,” he recalled. “We had so many people eager to volunteer that we didn’t have enough work for them to do!”
Since the first Big Event, Texas A&M students have completed more than 1 million service hours. In 2019, The Big Event coordinated 18,592 student volunteers to serve 2,319 Bryan-College Station residents. While the pandemic forced a cancellation in 2020, Aggies continued to serve in 2021 by reimagining The Big Event and implementing COVID-19 safety measures.
The impact of The Big Event spreads well beyond Aggieland, however, as it has inspired similar service projects at more than 170 other universities and organizations. “The Aggie Spirit has spread nationwide because of The Big Event,” said Meg Camele ’21, the organization’s current director. “It is the most tangible example of what it means to embody selfless service as an Aggie.”
Another historic day of volunteerism occurred this year on March 26 as the event celebrated 40 years of service. “The Big Event will only continue to grow and reach more residents in the future,” Camele shared. “I am excited to see Aggies find new and unique ways to live out our core values and selflessly serve.”
To learn how you can spread the Aggie Spirit through The Big Event, contact Reagan Chessher '96, senior director of development, at the bottom of this page.
You can also give a gift of $25 or more to The Big Event's endowment online by clicking the button below.
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