Storytime: The Big Event 2016
It was Saturday, April 9th, 2016. I had signed up with Galileo to complete a random service project for The Big Event. All the volunteers had gathered out on the drill field, and we were waiting for everyone to arrive before heading out to our assigned service project. It was freezing cold and overcast, and the forecast said snow. The event organizers had a stage setup out in front of the April 16th memorial where they were playing music. It’s called The Big Event, but it doesn’t register just how big it is until you see the drill field with 9,200 volunteers spread across its surface. On the left side of the drill field there was a large equipment area where tools were distributed to the teams for their service projects. I asked our group leader what our assignment was, and he said we were doing landscaping at the Blacksburg New School. At that moment, the event leaders got up on stage to welcome everybody, gave a spiel about the big event, and then released everyone to go to their projects. The only equipment that our group collected was garden gloves; everything else that we needed was being provided by the school. We headed back to Lee so that our shuttle on Washington Street could transport us to the job site. It was around this time that the snow started to come down. We got to the site and met T.J., the director for the school. She welcomed us all inside out of the snow, where she had table of Carol Lee donuts waiting for us. She told us to help ourselves while she briefed us on the work that she needed done for the day: mulching. I looked outside and saw the snow coming down, and I remember thinking, this is ridiculous! There was already a coat of snow covering the ground, and we had to mulch the flower beds all around the school. But we had come to work, so we got right to it. We all headed outside, gathered up the wheelbarrows, and began filling them with mulch. I took up a position as a wheelbarrow transport man, taking loads of mulch to the beds and dumping them for others to spread. Several hours later we had successfully mulched the entirety of the school, and it actually didn’t look half bad. We went back inside to inform T.J. that we had finished the project. She thanked us and gave us all the snacks that she had brought with her. The conditions may not have been great but we persevered and completed the project. I met many great new people from Lee, and provided a service to a member of the Blacksburg community. I can honestly say that it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Virginia Tech.