Big Event Returns with New Look, Same Goal of Giving Back

March 19, 2021 | Events, News, UToday
By Kirk Baird

The Big Event returns Saturday, March 20, with a new look but with the same goal: Students giving thanks to the Toledo community by donating their time and efforts throughout the area.

The Big Event is the largest, one-day, student-run service project at The University of Toledo, but with COVID-19 restrictions in place, this year’s Big Event is smaller, socially distanced and outdoors.

The 2020 Big Event was canceled because of the pandemic, but in previous years, more than 1,000 UToledo students, faculty and staff would volunteer.

This year, the Big Event is limited to mostly students, with approximately 350 expected to volunteer from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for one of the clean-up activities: raking leaves in the nearby Old Orchard community next to Main Campus; and cleaning the grounds of the Corpus Christi University Parish, 2955 Dorr St., and Ottawa Park, 2201 Ottawa Pkwy., among other locations.

Even with the smaller numbers and other restrictions, it was vital that the Big Event return in 2021 to build up its momentum and reclaim its status as an annual activity, said Grace Johnson, a senior majoring in biology who is the Big Event’s overall director.

“We looked at different options to have the event this year,” Johnson said. “But we wanted to ensure student safety.”

Normally, planning for the Big Event begins in October. This year, it wasn’t until January that the decision was made to move forward with the 2021 edition.

One of the ideas under consideration was to have a “Day of Giving,” in which students would volunteer their time independently of a group or an event.

“But we truly thought we could have this event,” Johnson said. “It would be different than in years past, but the ability to give back to the community that gives so much to us is so important, we had to work it out. And it all fell into place.”

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