The big event returns on April 23rd


The big event returns on April 23rd


On Sunday, April 23, a small army of SUNY Cortland students will once again spread out into the Cortland community to clean, paint, and otherwise dress up their town when The Big Event closes after a three-year COVID-19 -Interruption returns.

The volunteer event, five hours of lively student-led community service, became a Cortland tradition in 2015.

The greater the student participation, the greater the visible impact on the community. To register, complete the Big Event form by the volunteer registration deadline on Friday, March 10th.

On April 23rd, registered volunteers should check in at the Corey Union meeting room at 9:00 am. The event will kick off with remarks from Erik J. Bitterbaum, President of SUNY Cortland, and others. The big event lasts until 2 p.m

Details of the kickoff breakfast and ceremony will be published in a future issue of Notice.

In 2016, student volunteers cleaned up a garden bed at The Big Event.

Registered attendees will be contacted via email with further details at least two weeks prior to the event.

“I am very grateful to have the opportunity to once again introduce The Big Event to all of you,” said Odyssey Bassett, Student Government Association (SGA) events coordinator and organizer of this year’s event. She is a Senior Biomedical Sciences Major from Albany, NY

“In the past, SUNY Cortland has held The Big Event to bring together students, faculty and staff to complete a big day of service to our community neighbors and to say ‘thank you’ to the Cortland community,” Bassett said.

As SGA president, Anneka Bowler, a junior political science major from Pearl River, NY, said she wants to bring The Big Event back this year to improve college-community ties.

“Students should recognize that they are temporarily occupying a space that some people live in permanently, and in situations like this it’s important to give back to the community,” Bowler said.

“I didn’t attend the last one, but I heard about the great things it was doing for the college and the community,” she said. “After COVID it seemed like a great idea to bring back The Big Event. I hope that future administrations of student government will continue to do so.”

Participation by members of Greek organisations, student clubs and sports teams has historically resulted in strong participation. However, this momentum was halted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Current attendance is 150, but we’re expecting more volunteers from sports teams this week,” Bowler said.

Volunteer work can include raking leaves, cleaning up trash, painting porch steps, and any other requests SGA receives from community members. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own equipment, but the SGA provides tools for those who don’t bring them.

This year’s The Big Event is scheduled to follow the same general format as in the past, with a continental breakfast supported by SUNY Cortland Auxiliary Services. Volunteers receive their assignments and free t-shirts. One difference this year is that faculty and staff will be offered the option to wear Cortland attire instead to represent their school pride.

A trio of SUNY Cortland athletes turned up to help rake an urban playground for The Big Event 2017.

“If you are interested in attending The Big Event, please complete this voluntary commitment,” Bassett said. Contact Bassett for more information. Updates will be available on the Cortland SGA Instagram page.

The Actively Involved in the Community (AIC) student club was founded at SUNY Cortland in 2015 by Ashlee Prewitt ’14 and was previously responsible for organizing this event each spring. More than 400 volunteers attended the first The Big Event in Cortland.

The Big Event is part of a national movement on college campuses. It originated in 1982 as a student-led service project developed by Texas A&M University. Although there is no nationally recognized organization for this particular event, colleges and universities across the US have introduced similar projects onto their campuses.

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