Think BIG: Sustain Members Attend Big Event Conference
By Laura Gonzales
Recently, Southwestern’s new organization Sustain, ventured into Aggieland to attend the 2015 “One Big Day, One Big Thanks, One Big Event” conference on January 30 and 31, in College Station, Tx.
Sustain organizes Southwestern’s annual BIG Event day, during which organizations and individuals devote up to six hours of service to the local community. The conference helped Sustain plan to expand SU’s BIG event this year, which will occur on March 28. Seven delegates from Sustain attended the conference alongside representatives from 22 other schools.
The conference occurred at College Station due to the BIG Event’s origin at Texas A&M University (TAMU), College Station in 1982. This day of service has reprised annually across various campuses as a “way to say thank you to the community,” according to the TAMU BIG event site and coordinator Kevin Brooks.
TAMU hosts the BIG Event conference each year as a meeting point for schools – big and small – across the nation to share their passion for community service. A committee at TAMU invites multiple keynote speakers, facilitates round table discussions, provides lunch and dinner, and encourages mingling time among the delegates. This past conference marked the ninth BIG Event Conference put on by TAMU and the second which Southwestern attended.
Sustain members junior Kathryn Reagan, sophomores Javier Fuentes, Mattie Cryer, Madison Mckee, and first-years Sarah Hethershaw, Jordan Herbert, and Laura Gonzales began the conference by attending a lecture by motivational speaker Dave Kelly. Following the presentation, various schools’ delegates and TAMU BIG Event staffers congregated at a barbeque and impromptu dance party.
On Saturday, conference attendees engaged in numerous discussions in which members informed one another about ways to better their campuses’ BIG Event.
“The BIG Event conference was incredibly informative…. and was a great way for us to connect with other schools dedicated to community service” said first-year Sarah Hethershaw.
Reagan, president of Sustain and leader of The BIG Event planning, agreed that the conference was “really rewarding.” Reagan said that the conference attendees were “a mix of old and new.” The Southwestern delegates included three members who attended the previous year and four new members.
“[The conference] really helped get me psyched about [Southwestern’s] BIG Event,” said Hethershaw, a new member of Sustain.
Other delegates felt these ideas the wanted to implement we invaluable and were thankful for receiving funding from SU’s McMichael grant to attend the conference.
Sustain has recently partnered with service-oriented fraternity Alpha Pi Omega (APO) for a profit share to gain funds – one of the many ideas from the conference. Registration for the BIG Event is still open for groups and individuals.