CLEVELAND, Miss.— 280+ students, 780+ hours and 20 projects—what started off as just an idea turned out to be a “big” success during Delta State University’s inaugural student-led community service project, The Big Green Event.
Spearheaded by Delta State’s Student Government Association, The Big Green Event was held Saturday, April 23, providing DSU student volunteers the opportunity to complete service projects on Delta State’s campus and throughout the Cleveland community.
Hundreds of DSU students gathered Saturday morning at Delta State’s McCool Stadium to kick-off the event with a welcome from Delta State President William N. LaForge. They then picked up t-shirts, supplies and received their assignments for the day.
“Seeing this project come to fruition has become one of my most favorite memories during my time at Delta State. With this event being entirely ran by students, it brings great joy to see the hard work done by those students pay off,” said DSU SGA President Will Young of Flora, Miss.
Lucia Chacon, DSU’s SGA director of public relations and president-elect, agreed.
“The Big Green Event was a great opportunity to get together with other students and serve the Cleveland community. We hope this event becomes a yearly tradition,” she said.
During the event, students had the opportunity to work on 20 projects located on Delta State’s campus, including the Wiley Garden and the Child Development Center, as well as community sites such as the Bolivar County Library, Pearman Elementary School and Downtown Cleveland.
Assignments included gardening, cleaning up, weeding, window washing, and raking.
“It was awesome to see Delta State students out and about completing beautification projects around Cleveland and downtown,” said Cade Holder, director of Community Programs for the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce.
“This is the first time the [DSU] SGA has reached out to the community to accomplish something at this scale, but I hope they continue the program—that way we can work to plan for projects with an even bigger impact in the future.”
For DSU Freshman Maria Mondragon of Lake Village, Ark., the event was a great opportunity to give back.
“I wanted to volunteer for The Big Green Event because I love helping out in the community and this was a great opportunity to do so,” shared Mondragon, an education major. “It feels so rewarding knowing I helped in any way possible, and this was such a fun and great experience.”
DSU Business major Kaiden Beck of Flint, Mich., who served as a group leader for a project at the radio station, said he also enjoyed the experience.
“I think we made a big difference in the community, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves,” said Beck. “Receiving the opportunity to be involved in the community, making a difference and helping people who could use the help just feels good. I personally enjoy giving back through service because I feel that actions speak louder than words.”
Malik Fulton, a senior Accounting major from Indianola, Miss., said he enjoyed making new connections during the service project.
“It warmed my heart to help others, and I really enjoyed getting to know and meet community members and students I hadn’t met before,” he shared.
“What compelled me to volunteer was the opportunity to help. It feels good to help others—you never know when you may need help or how those you have helped can one day help you.”
Young said that, overall, the event was a great reflection of the students at Delta State.
“For our first year, it was great to see over 200 students come together and give back their time through the various service projects. That speaks volumes on how great our student body is, and I expect this project to grow each year as our students find new ways to make it sustainable,” he said.
To learn more about The Big Green Event, visit www.deltastate.edu/biggreenevent.