Students Make Islander Impact, Donate Over 4,000 Volunteer Hours During BIG Event

Published: April 20, 2018

Students Make Islander Impact, Donate Over 4,000 Volunteer Hours During BIG Event

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – More than 1,000 Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students gave time on a rainy Saturday morning to collectively complete over 4,000 volunteer hours during the Island University’s 10th annual BIG Event in an effort to give back to the community. The BIG Event is an annual day of service organized by the Student Volunteer Connection that continues to grow, both in volunteers and work site locations.  

This BIG Event featured almost 50 jobs sites across the Coastal Bend, including non-profits and residential homes. Many community residents signed up as job sites because their houses required repair or clean up after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

“With the recent hurricanes, the BIG Event is more important than ever,” said Rhiannon Cleetus, treasurer of the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Chemistry Club. “We all live in the same community and it’s important to take care of your own.”

Before going out to their respective job sites, student volunteers gathered in the Dugan Wellness Center to hear words of encouragement and praise from Dr. Kelly M. Quintanilla, president and CEO of A&M-Corpus Christi.  

“We hope the leadership and service you show today will continue after you graduate so you can make an Islander Impact,” President Quintanilla said. “I know that each of you will be a leader in your community and in the future and we could not be more proud.”

One job site location was Mission 911, which provides a place to sleep, food, clothing and job opportunities to homeless members of the community as they work to get their lives back on track. While there, members of the Island University Chemistry Club helped sort clothes for the homeless and cleaned a shed used for woodworking.

“The BIG Event has an important role in the Corpus Christi community since a lot of places don’t have the necessary help they need,” said Brandon Phung, Chemistry Club member. “The community is here to help our University and this is our chance to contribute.”

Other job sites included: Coastal Bend Friends of Aquatics, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Center, Coastal Bend Food Bank, Learning Garden at Grow Local South Texas and Kids Against Hunger.

“The BIG Event is important because it creates a habit of volunteerism in students,” said Dr. Philip Rhoades, regents professor of criminal justice at A&M-Corpus Christi and president of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, a licensed Kids Against Hunger location. “Our students are directly affecting a local need in their region and that’s impressive.”

This year was also the first time the National Islander Alumni Association took part in the BIG Event with alumni chapter cities in Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Austin making an Islander Impact at non-profits in their respective cities.

The Island University thanks this year’s BIG Event sponsors – Whataburger, at the gold level, and Flint Hills Resources, at the silver level.