Posted: 3/22/24

TAMIU’s ‘The Big Event’ Celebrated 15th Year With Record-Breaking Community Impact


The Big Event Logo

On Saturday, March 23, 2024, some 500+ Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) students, faculty, staff, and alumni volunteers gathered for the 15th year in celebration of "The Big Event," the University's annual day of service.

Together, volunteers made a significant impact in their local community, with an estimated monetary impact of $649,356 and generating 20,420 hours of community service.

In its 15-year timespan, The Big Event has posted some record-breaking feats, with 3,234 volunteers generating a $1.6+M monetary impact to the community through a combined 65,729 community service hours.

This year, as part of its 15-year anniversary, The Big Event participants focused on the Canta Ranas neighborhood in West Laredo. There, volunteers took part in a neighborhood empowerment project that included several worthy initiatives like a park beautification project, a mural painting, and several residential beautification projects. Unique to this year's The Big Event was a second volunteer opportunity where volunteers installed fire alarms in residential homes in the Los Obispos neighborhood in South Laredo and in homes in the Canta Ranas neighborhood.

Each year, the student-led volunteer initiative has made a considerable impact in the community and affirmed the continued service-oriented mission, said Emrys García, a SGA L.O.V.E. Committee chair.

"The Big Event is a unique service event that tangibly solidifies our commitment to the local community we serve. While the Canta Ranas neighborhood has sometimes been referred to as los olvidados, we want to ensure no residents are forgotten. That's why we teamed up with community leaders to truly make an impact that will be felt for years to come," García noted.

TAMIU Student Conduct and Community Engagement (SCCE) program manager Priscilla A. Cadena noted the importance of these events for students.

“Participating in annual service events like The Big Event fosters a culture of service within our academic institution and prepares students to be thoughtful, engaged citizens who are willing and able to contribute to the betterment of their communities and the wider world,” said Cadena.

Organized through TAMIU's Office of SCCE, the event included the collaborative efforts of the University's Student Government Association (SGA) Leaders Organizing Volunteer Events (L.O.V.E.) Committee, the City of Laredo Solid Waste Department through its Environmental Services, Keep Laredo Beautiful, the American Red Cross, and ARCA Continental Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages.

Student efforts were led by SGA L.O.V.E. Committee chairs Alejandra Herrera, Emrys García, and Angelica Gavilanes. A total of 40 student team leaders served as project leads during the morning-long service event. 

Organizers took their inspiration from Texas A&M University in College Station, the home of The Big Event. TAMIU’s annual event unites volunteers each spring through a service endeavor that has included projects like painting, yard maintenance, and litter cleanup, among other service-themed activities. 

Past The Big Event volunteer opportunities have taken place at North Central Park, Las Palmas Nature Trail, and Los Tres Laredos Park, the Santo Niño Neighborhood, the Laredo Housing Authority, the South Texas Food Bank, Ruthe B. Cowl Rehabilitation Center, Slaughter Park, and more. For a look back at past events, visit https://go.tamiu.edu/serve.  

For more information, contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Engagement at 956.326.2265, email scce@tamiu.edu, or visit offices in the Student Center, room 226.

More event information is also available on the University's website, tamiu.edu and its social media sites on Facebook and Twitter.