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Published October 27, 2023
By Duncan Lewis
The Big Event is a day for the students and faculty of UW to say thank you to the Laramie community through volunteer service activities. The Service, Leadership and Community Engagement (SLCE) office, who hosts The Big Event, says, “Throughout the years, the community of Laramie has shown endless support to the students of UW. The Big Event’s goal is to reciprocate that appreciation to residents.”
Basically, this event is a day full of volunteer events that students from the campus community can sign up for to help show their appreciation for Laramie.
This year marked the 10-year anniversary of The Big Event here at UW and over that time there have been more than 4,808 student volunteers who have participated in over 14,308 hours of community service as a way of saying “thank you” to the Laramie community.
This year, The Big Event had 250 volunteers helping out at 75 different sites. Students volunteered for both Laramie community members and public organizations. All of the projects were at outdoor locations and included window washing, raking leaves, trimming hedges, winterizing gardens, painting, staining and moving materials like dirt, rocks and hay.
Some laregly impactful projects included:
Winterizing gardens at the LaBonte Community Garden and Laramie Garden Club.
Painting the outside of the Laramie Animal Welfare Society, a non-profit organization that provides medical care, shelter, fostering and more to animals in Laramie.
Preparing space for an outdoor patio at Robbie’s House, a safe place for people who struggle with mental health issues looking for community, encouragement and creative activities.
Cleaning up the Story Walk at the Albany County Public Library, an innovative and delightful way for children and adults to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time.
Other groups SLCE has worked with in the past include:
Laramie Connections Center, an organization that provides meal deliveries, low-income moving services and volunteer resourcing.
Food Bank of Wyoming, the Wyoming Distribution Center of Food Bank of the Rockies, the largest hunger relief organization in the Rocky Mountain region.
Eppson Center for Seniors, a nonprofit senior activity center whose purpose is to provide those 60+ years of age in our community support for independent living through programs that enhance their quality of life.
Family Promise of Albany County, a local affiliate of a national organization that has been serving families experiencing homelessness since 1986.
To see a full list of impacted organizations, check out this website.
Students who choose to participate in the Big Event and other community service events do so for any number of reasons, but the main ones are about giving back to the city of Laramie and for the feeling of personal growth gained from the positive impact on the local community.
“We know Laramie undergoes big changes every fall when students return to campus - from changes in the amount of traffic across town to an increase in the brown and gold you see folks wearing downtown every gameday. The Big Event is an opportunity for students to show their appreciation for the community who welcomes them back every year.”
-Shelby Kennedy, Project Coordinator for SLCE
We hope to see you next year at The Big Event! In the meantime, there are many other volunteer opportunities to help give back to the local community. To find the full list of opportunities, visit the Volunteer Hub and fill out the registration form!
Getting involved can be a scary thought, especially when you haven’t done it before or are new to campus. Whether you’re looking for volunteer opportunities, like The Big Event, or joining a club or team is more your thing, the first step to getting involved is to research what opportunities are available. At the start of my freshman year, my “research” happened when I went to the Involvement Fest on Prexy’s and walked around to all the tables. I stopped by the different clubs I thought were interesting and introduced myself. Now, I know some of you might not be as open to introducing yourself to a random stranger, so a possible workaround is to send an email to the group or club asking for more information. I highly recommend checking out the next Involvment Fest but you can also browse a full list of clubs, organizations and volunteer opportunities here.