Currently: Graduate student 

Status: Pursuing a master’s degree in green engineering

Degree: Civil and environmental engineering

Class year: 2022

On Ut Prosim: The Big Event is a student-run day of service that stands as the second-largest event of its kind in the nation. In April, more than 5,100 students performed tasks throughout the local community and the New River Valley, and Smith, a native of Charlottesville, served as a co-director. She was involved with The Big Event all four years while pursuing her undergraduate degree.

“Our motto [with The Big Event] is that it's engagement through service,” Smith said. “The focus is not so much on the service project. It's on the engagement, and the service is just a way to say, ‘Thank you.’ Now, there are several people in Blacksburg who really rely on our work, but at the end of the day, it's still just one day in the whole year. The service is making an impact, but that's not why we're doing it. We're doing it to show people that we care and help people in any way we can and be the bridge between students and town.”

On how Virginia Tech impacted her view of service: “I think one of my favorite things about living here is the community. I've spent summers here. I spent some time during breaks here, and the people in Blacksburg just support the school so much more than we realize. And The Big Event is just one day. It's small, but I think that the town really knows it and benefits from it, and it just connects to the town so well.”

On the importance of service for Virginia Tech’s future: “I think service is a product of a small town and a product of Virginia Tech. People want to care about each other and want to be involved in each other's lives. I think service is almost just a byproduct of that, but I think it's so important to Tech because that's what makes this place somewhere you want to be. Service isn't inherently school spirit, but I think ours is very, very intertwined, and people love it here because of the community, and the community is great because people are serving each other, and people are serving each other because the community is great and because they want to be here. They want to celebrate, and they want to have school spirit.”


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