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Ole Miss students take part in annual Big Event

An estimated 2,000 students came out to lend a helping hand to the Oxford and Lafayette communities on Saturday.

Started in 2011, The Big Event at Ole Miss annually sends student volunteers to assist around town — whether it’s cleaning up litter on Highway 7 or helping citizens clean their homes.

In spite of the dreary weather, The Big Event kept students busy.

One of the many projects involved cleaning St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on the Square. Due to the rain, some of the outdoor jobs had to be put on hold.

“One of the things that we’re going to be doing here in the church is dusting the rafters,” said Dewey Knight, one of the members of St. Peter’s who was also there to volunteer. “This church was finished in 1860, so there’s a lot of antebellum dust up there, I guess you could say. Then we’ll be cleaning all the dust that came down and re-doing the pews. We’ll take all the cushions out, beat all the dust out of it and then polish and revive the wood.”

Catherine Smith, the Junior Warden at the church, says that the students coming is a “huge” help for St. Peter’s.

“It’s very important for us and we’re thrilled to have the students help us out,” she said. “The students have been coming every year since the inception.”

Once the rain let up for a time, a group of students went outside to shovel mulch and move it in wheelbarrows to another part of the church lawn. One of the students was Oxford native Marlon Jones.

“It’s always important to give back, no matter how big or small, to the community,” Jones said. “Especially since this is my hometown.”

In another part of town, Garbielle Vivero, 18, volunteered to be a team leader. She and her group were at a private home on North Lamar Boulevard cleaning and polishing wood cabinets and wall paneling. She said she decided to join the Big Event to become more involved in the Oxford community.

“We had a project like this at my high school, so when I got here and heard about The Big Event, I felt it was something I could get involved with,” said Vivero, a freshman at Ole Miss majoring in journalism. “I think it’s a good opportunity for students to branch out into the bigger community, outside of the college community. Coming from a much bigger place, Oxford really does feel like one big community. It’s been a good time here so far.”