Editorial: Big success

The volunteers who participated in Saturday’s Big Event deserve a special ‘thank you’ from the community.

Kansas University is a defining asset for Lawrence and makes a mighty contribution to our community 365 days a year.

Nonetheless, there’s something special about seeing 3,000 KU volunteers investing some sweat equity in the community that surrounds the university campus.

That’s what happened on Saturday during the third annual Big Event, which organizes KU students, faculty and staff to perform community service projects at both public and private locations. After getting their work assignments, the volunteers scattered across Lawrence to about 400 sites to rake, trim, paint and perform many other duties. Among other jobs, they helped tidy up the stadium at Lawrence High School and plant new trees to replace those cleared by Westar Energy at the Hidden Valley Girl Scout Camp.

Organizers say the event was created as a way for KU students and employees to say “thank you” to the community and has grown steadily from fewer than 500 volunteers the first year to about 2,000 the second and 3,000 this year. It takes a lot of coordination to match that many volunteers with work assignments across the city, but the increased numbers must indicate that results of the event are satisfying for both the volunteers and those they help.

As noted above, KU is a year-round asset for Lawrence, bringing not only cultural events and notable speakers to the city but also thousands of interesting and accomplished students, faculty and staff members. They enhance our community in many ways. Last weekend, they rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty in an effort to say “thank you” to Lawrence. We’d like to return that sentiment with a special thank you to everyone who participated in the Big Event.