Annual Big Event Expected to Draw Thousands of Student Volunteers

Effort delivers service to the community while building relationships

Students give back to the community during the 2017 Big Event. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The largest day of community service each year at the University of Mississippi, known as the Big Event, already has thousands of students registered to say “thank you” to residents of Oxford and Lafayette County.

This year’s Big Event, set for Saturday (March 24), will begin at 8 a.m. at The Pavilion at Ole Miss. For the event, students who have volunteered will be placed in projects that may include painting, yard work, washing windows, cleaning, assisting the elderly and much more in an effort to give back to the community.

“The purpose of the Ole Miss Big Event is to dedicate a day of service to the community while building a relationship between students and community members,” said Savannah Smith, a senior from Corinth and this year’s event co-director. “By actively participating in these projects, we would like to instill the value of service in our peers.”

The Big Event began in 2011 with more than 1,200 students who participated in volunteer projects across the community. The following year, the effort enjoyed a large increase in both volunteers and projects, resulting in more than 3,000 students signed up and nearly 300 service projects.

“As far as recruiting volunteers to sign up this year, our volunteer recruitment subcommittee has worked really hard to contact registered student organizations to encourage their members to sign up for the event,” said Mary Morgan Coburn, a senior from Jackson and a co-director of the event.

Roughly 2,150 student volunteers are registered to serve this year, but the committee hopes to have walk-in volunteers Saturday.

Both Smith and Coburn are enthusiastic about the upcoming event and have set their goals on having the best turnout yet. Their hopes are that by getting students to participate in the event, it will encourage them to volunteer their time to other service projects in the future.

“We have also reached out to EDHE and Honors 101/102 classes,” said Austin Spindler, a senior from Savannah, Tennessee, and Big Event assistant director. “In addition to that, we’ve talked to a number of individual students on business row and have promoted sign-up for the event with signs and posters around campus.”

Major corporate sponsors for the Big Event, such as Chipotle and other businesses throughout the community, have contributed to the effort.

Students who are unable to register are welcome to walk in before 9 a.m. Saturday to be assigned a service project.

For more information about the Big Event, visit