Virginia Tech’s 11th annual Big Event will be Saturday, March 31, from around 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and organizers say they are hoping to top last year’s high numbers of volunteers and projects at what has become the second-largest university event of its kind in the nation.

Volunteer registration runs through March 16, while community service project requests will be taken through March 9. Projects are limited to Blacksburg and Christiansburg.

Big Event Director Anuj Bagai of Vienna, Va., a senior majoring in finance in the Pamplin College of Business, said there were roughly 6,500 volunteers who completed approximately 950 service projects at the 2011 event. This year he said he hopes to see at least 7,000 Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff participate in at least 1,000 projects. All volunteers will receive a free Big Event T-shirt.

“One of the things that attracted me to this university was the motto, Ut Prosim [(That I May Serve)], and I feel like this is one of the easiest ways to fulfill it,” he said.

Virginia Tech’s Big Event is one of nearly 80 similar university events across the country, Bagai said. All service projects are submitted by community members, from the elderly to young families, and as long as a project is deemed safe by Big Event staff it will be added to the roster of projects for the day. He said one of the most common projects is yard work.

“There are no pre-requisites to be eligible for a project,” he said. “This is not based on need or socioeconomic status.”

Volunteers can register as individuals or as teams. Bagai said tools are supplied at a discounted rate by Ace Hardware, and funding for the event comes from Virginia Tech’s Student Government Association, Capital One, Hensel Phelps Construction Co., and M.C. Dean Inc.

He added that the event has received non-monetary sponsorship from Virginia Tech’s Alumni Association, Campus Cookies, and UPS, and that event organizers are trying to secure more local sponsorships in the form of snacks and lunches for volunteers, as well.

Volunteers should show up at Virginia Tech’s Drillfield between 9 and 10 a.m. on the day of the event for the opening ceremony and to receive project assignments.

Free parking is available on the Drillfield on weekends. Parking is also available in the Perry Street Lots and the Perry Street Parking Garage near Prices Fork Road. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200.

It may sound like an early Saturday morning, but Bagai said it is a small gift considering all the community does to support the university.

“It’s easy when you wake up in the morning and go to classes, go back home, get something to eat,” Bagai said. “But if you take a second and think about it, the community backs this university like nothing I’ve ever seen. And [the Big Event] is once a year for four hours.”



Written by Jennifer Gibson.
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