On April 20, 2019, both The Big Event and Havoc on the Block were held for the first time at Virginia Commonwealth University.
VCU Student Government Association (SGA), in collaboration with the University Student Commons and Activities (USC&A), held The Big Event, a one-day, student-run event where Rams complete multiple small service projects for the residents of Richmond at more than a dozen unique sites.
“USC&A was proud to partner on this student-led initiative with leaders in SGA, as a way to say thank you to the residents of the Richmond community. As an institution committed to community and civic engagement, this is a prime example of how supporting students who want to give back to the community make VCU the premier urban research university in Virginia,” Fred Tugas, assistant director for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement of USC&A, said.
This inaugural event had a strong turnout, with more than 180 students coming together to complete over 560 hours of service work for the residents of communities neighboring VCU’s campuses. These volunteers represented multiple student organizations, departments and programs.
Volunteers were up early Saturday morning, meeting at the Commons Plaza at 8 a.m., where they split into teams and headed to their various project sites. There were 14 service projects completed as part of The Big Event, including neighborhood and park clean ups, yard work, window washing and painting.
In one of the many service projects completed during this day of giving, volunteers assisted Church Hill resident and USC&A Housekeeper Cynthia Conyers. Students helped Conyers by completing yard maintenance, including pulling weeds, trimming hedges and laying mulch. Conyers was pleased to see the effort of VCU students to give back to the surrounding community.
“That’s what I was real proud of,” Conyers said, when asked how it made her feel to see the students traveling to her neighborhood to help the local residents. “I applaud […] the Big Event, and I hope it continues every year to help people out like that. I really was happy; this was a good thing.”
After The Big Event, volunteers returned to the Monroe Park campus of VCU and received free food vouchers at the day’s next event, Havoc on the Block.
“I did the community service today,” John Tarvell, undeclared first year, said. “I’ve never been [to an event like Havoc on the Block] before but it looks pretty fun – good games, really good food.”
Havoc on the Block was held by Activities Programming Board (APB), and took place from 2-6 p.m. in front of the University Student Commons building on Floyd and Linden Avenues. Students had the chance to grab free food from food trucks and enjoy performances, a live DJ, giveaways, games, and engaging with each other for a much-needed celebration as the Spring 2019 semester came to a close.
“It’s a good way to bond with your peers and get to know everyone,” Shanice Rose, freshman Mass Communications major, said. “[Havoc on the Block is] a good time, why wouldn’t you come out?”
For more information about upcoming The Big Events, visit https://thebigevent.vcu.edu/.
For an additional album from the Jackson Ward site from The Big Event, visit the Division of Community Engagement Flickr.