Students gathered at Yaeger Stadium at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 25 to get ready for a day of service around the community.
The Washburn Student Government Association, in collaboration with Learning in the Community and the Bonner Leader Program, hosted the fifth annual Big Event at Washburn. This was the third time the WSGA had partnered with LinC and the Bonner Program to put on the event.
Students signed up for service sites and volunteered their time helping at sites doing mostly cleaning and beautification efforts.
“First and foremost I just want to get as many people out to help today just doing whatever community service we can to help out Topeka after that I would love if like ten people could find a site that they could volunteer at regularly throughout the year. Obviously I want more than ten but that’s the minimal goal,” said Dalton Hane, service director for the WSGA.
There were several service sites around Topeka that students were bussed to, including Shunga Nature Trail, the Topeka Zoo and Harvesters.
“We have Hope and Healing Academy which works with, I believe, horses which is really cool and they’re going to be doing some beautification up there. We have a lot of Keep America Beautiful sites this year, which are working around the community just brightening up the place and we also have several different organizations that work with empowerment like the YWCA, we have the Kansas Youth Empowerment Association, just a lot of different really cool projects to work on,” Hane said.
There were 335 students preregistered for the event and several others who registered that day.
“We’ve become much more efficient this year than it has been in the past, the Bonner Leaders have done their part very well in getting the sites and number of placements and the WSGA has done a really good job of rounding up students,” said Richard Ellis, the LinC director.
The LinC and Bonner Programs are programs at Washburn University focused on human services and volunteerism in Topeka.
“Hopefully some of these students will get excited about volunteering,” Ellis said.
While there were some difficulties in the execution of the Big Event, including miscommunications over busses and other issues, students had the opportunity to help out the community.
Students wishing to find a site to volunteer at can visit the LinC or Bonner webpages at washburnengage.com. There are service opportunities in the arts, environment, healthcare outreach, political involvement and more.
“There are sixty or seventy partners who have signed up on the site, looking for volunteers,” Ellis said.