On Saturday, almost 1,900 Kansas University volunteers, mostly students, will say thanks to the Lawrence community by performing all sorts of odd jobs and other tasks.
It’s all part of The Big Event, an event started last year and modeled after a similar effort that began at Texas A&M University.
Event organizers said they were pleased with the student turnout for the second annual event, which had about 500 KU students volunteer last year.
“A lot of people signed up this year,” said Dan Bjornson, an Overland Park junior who served as executive director of the event. “We’re really excited.”
The volunteers will be doing light painting, yard work and a variety of other jobs, too, Bjornson said.
Some KU faculty and staff joined the students this year, he said.
The students will divide into small groups and head to about 180 different sites. People who wanted help could sign up through a variety of ways, and the sites will mostly be people’s homes, Bjornson said, though a few nonprofit organizations signed up to receive help this year, including a school.
“Last year, we focused mainly on just families’ homes,” said Hannah Bolton, a junior from St. Libory, Neb., who helped run last year’s event. “This year, it’s kind of grown to larger organizations.”
Bjornson said that he hoped that the event would continue to grow in the future. At Texas A&M, more than 20,000 students participate, and students get a day off from classes to participate. That’s an eventual goal for the event at KU, too, Bjornson said.
Administrators have been supportive of the event, and KU’s chancellor is scheduled to address volunteers in the morning before they leave the parking lot outside the David Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center to the various sites they’ll be working at throughout the community.