Three Tyler colleges are coming together to help the community through the first East Texas Big Event.
The East Texas Big Event is a collaboration between TJC, UT Tyler, and Texas College.
Several larger universities across the state host their own “Big Events,” days when students commit to participate in community service.
According to Director of Student Life Lauren Tyler, Tyler colleges have been wanting to create their own Big Event for a while now.
“We’re hoping to get it started and just continue to grow it,” said Tyler, “and hopefully it does grow to the same model the larger universities follow.”
Many of the volunteer projects will take place in downtown Tyler. “The downtown square is nice to enough to host us down there, so we want to repay that,” explained Tyler, “and they actually have a lot of projects that need to be done down there. So, everything from Liberty Hall, to the Smith County Historical Society, to maintaining the downtown square flowerbeds. They’ve got a lot of benches they want to put up … The Discovery Science Place is having their Maker Fair that day, so it’s going to be a busy time in that area. So, we’ll have some students actually volunteering at that event … There’s a lot of different projects to do. We have over 300 [volunteers] that have registered so far, so it should be a great turnout.”
Tyler said that anyone can volunteer at The East Texas Big Event. “The idea is that it’s a community-wide service event, so anyone can participate. It doesn’t have to be students, although that is our main target. We have people with young kids who are coming to volunteer.”
The East Texas Big Event will take place on Saturday, April 27. Students can pre-register at www.uttyler.edu/service/bigevent.php. to volunteer. However, pre-registration is not required to participate in the event—students are free to show up on the morning of the event. “Registration’s going to start at eight that morning. We’ll kick everything off at 8:30, and we’ll do the projects from about nine to 12 or 12:30. Then, we’ll have a sort of an end-of-project celebration. We’ll have some door prizes, some free food, some music, different things. They’re going to shut down part of Broadway and make it a true downtown event. We always want to encourage people to wear appropriate clothing. I would recommend wearing closed-toe shoes, and probably clothes that you don’t mind getting damaged, because a lot of our projects are more physical-labor-type projects. But, not all of them are … It’s a little bit of everything,” explained Tyler.
“It’s just a great opportunity, I think, for all of these three Tyler schools,” she continued. “I don’t know of many events that we’ve all three come together on, so I think that’s a really need aspect to this event. We’re really pulling together as East Texas to serve our town that gives so much to all of these institutions. I can’t recall many things where all three institutions come together on one day to do service.”