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East Texas Big Event joins Tyler Junior College, University of Texas at Tyler volunteers for community cleanup efforts

Volunteers headed to The East Texas Big Event that took place on March
4 beginning in downtown Tyler and spanning all across the city. Held in partnership with the City of Tyler, UT Tyler and TJC, the East Texas Big Event is a day of community service welcome to the East Texas community and led by UT Tyler and TJC students.

A representative from UT Tyler speaks on the importance of community and volunteering during the event. Several speakers from both schools spoke at the event before going out and volunteering themselves alongside students and community members. Photo by Garrison Nichols.

“UT Tyler is committed to serving our community. Facilitating a day of service helps our campus community connect with the city and local agencies who are already doing great work,” said Ona Tolliver, UT Tyler senior vice president for student success. “We are excited to collaborate with TJC and other partners again this year to support the City of Tyler. We know this day will be impactful for our community and our students.”

Students, faculty, staff and community volunteers helped perform upkeep on the downtown square and city parks through painting and landscaping, as well as assisting PATH. After the service projects were completed around noon, lunch was served to all of the volunteers.

Zach Cox, student at UT Tyler, helps to pick up trash with his group at the Goodman LeGrande Museum downtown. Each group of volunteers was given an area and a task in order to make the most out of the time set aside for the East Texas Big Event. Photo by Garrison Nichols.

“We were here for our organization, Alpha Chi Omega, and we’re out here serving our community,” Abigail Floyd, a mass communications major at UT Tyler, said. “I volunteered at the train tracks. We were picking up trash around the Cotton Belt.”

Students attending both schools volunteered at over a dozen different locations across Tyler. Volunteer opportunities ranged from painting park benches, cleaning windows at the Discovery Science Place, cleaning up litter, and organizing storage at the public library.

“I wanted to support the community and do my part to help out,” Paige Lyons, a nursing major at UT Tyler, said. “It was really fun. We were freshening up the bleachers and the flagpoles. Half of us went off to rake leaves.”

TJC Student Senate Freshman President Kara Wofford helps plant greenery around the community. Volunteers
were given tasks by the organizers after reaching out to the community. Some volunteers planted, like Wofford, some painted over graffiti and some picked up trash. Photo by Garrison Nichols

The Big Event is a yearly movement by PATH, or “People Attempting To Help,” a volunteer program locally operating in East Texas, in conjunction with UT Tyler and accompanying schools. The Path Program has operated since 1984, and has since made it a mission to offer services to East Texas that aid the community.

A TJC student works to replace burnt out light bulbs at Liberty Hall. The volunteers were asked to help with things such as replacing light bulbs, but also park cleanup and planting in downtown Tyler. The East Texas Big Event is an annual event held with both TJC and UT Tyler, as well as representatives from the city of Tyler. Photo by Garrison Nichols.

“It is so much fun to get to meet together,” TJC Dean of Students Dr. Tampen Nannen said. “All of us East Texans, Tyler students and faculty and staff, and whoever else is here today. We appreciate each and every one of them being here and doing what we do best: serving our community.”

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