Eight in the morning on a Saturday is usually a quiet time for Bloomsburg, in both the town and the university. Students, staff and residents usually take the time to sleep in, relax with a cup of coffee and maybe clean up from the festivities of the night before. However on the Saturday morning of April 6, Bloomsburg and its occupants were anything but quite. Over 1,000 students gathered at the Bloomsburg Town Park on Market Street to participate in the fourth annual ‘Big Event.’
The ‘Big Event’ started in 1982 at Texas A&M University by Joe Nussbaum. Nussbaum was the vice-president of the Student Government Association and wanted to give back to the community that housed their students. The first ‘Big Event’ consisted of 30 students cleaning up a cemetery and mowing the lawn. 31 years later the ‘Big Event’ has spread to over 100 campuses nationwide as well as two international universities, with over 18,000 students participating in over 1,400 jobs around their communities.
Starting at 8 a.m., more than 1,400 Bloomsburg University students arrived at the Bloomsburg Town Park to begin registration. Students and other volunteers were met with the much needed coffee, bagels and other treats, as well as a DJ to help pump up the weary students to help their community. “We came today for our community service,” said Larrisha Gregory of the Ladies First club. “We like to give back to community any way we can, and I think the residents really appreciate it.” And appreciate they did, residents from all over town came down to watch the students unite for the community. “Well certainly it is a great event; it’s a nice thing they do for the town. It’s nice to see all the different personalities of university students to come out and help their community. The students do such great work,” said Chief of Police of the Town of Bloomsburg, Leo Sokoloski.
After registration, students grabbed supplies and headed off to their locations. Students were supplied with garden gloves, rakes, face masks, biodegradable garbage bags and other necessities by local sponsors. Businesses around the community such as Home Depot, Wagner’s Trophies, Lion Gate Luxury Apartments, Giant, Razor Technology, Weis Market, Your Building Center and the Geisinger Foundation donated either supplies or money to help organize the event. M.S. Bond Busing provided transportation for volunteers as they set out to farther away areas in need of cleaning up.
As the sun passed overhead, students continued to sacrifice their Saturday to contribute to the community. Students all over town picked up trash, raked leaves, trimmed hedges and helped take care of lawns for those unable to do so themselves. “I want to thank the university students,” said Kathleen Fitting. Fitting was one of the many people that benefitted from the event, “I am unable to do things like that and they did a beautiful job.”