This semester has been a semester of lasts. It was my last Spring as an undergraduate student, and therefore, I will never get to experience all the springtime activities that I know and love here at OU. It’s a bittersweet feeling, and I also missed one spring at OU while I was away studying abroad, and missed all my favorite events that semester as well. I would never trade my semester in Graz for anything, but I would do quite a lot to go back and be able to relive my days OU’s annual day of philanthropy, the Big Event. Luckily, I can cherish the memories of my last one, where OU Cousins volunteered at Cross Bridge Community Church in OKC.
The day of Big Event starts bright and early on the North Oval on campus, where thousands of students gather in their respective huddles to go out and serve the community. Speakers blast popular music to get the crowd pumped up, a few speakers give some encouraging words, and within a few minutes, the crowd disperses to make an impact at hundreds of different locations.
In my tenure with OU Cousins, I was used to going to the Whinery Family Farm, but I love a change of scenery, and it doesn’t really matter when you get to help those in need, and help we did.
When we arrived at our volunteer location, Cross Bridge Church was in dire need of tuning up, and OU Cousins took on the challenge valiantly. We cleaned the basement of dust and trash, hauling off unwanted everything from cardboard to an old furnace. Next, we headed outside into the bitter cold to paint the outside of the church, the ramp and the stairs leading up to it. The leaders at the church were so kind—they knew with the combination of cold and wind, we were freezing out fingers off, and they gifted us with gloves to help get the job done. By the end of the morning, the church was in tip-top shape, and all it took was a couple of gallons of paint and about 20 OU Cousins.
Some people might question whether or not The Big Event is an international activity. Besides the fact that it is something I do with OU Cousins, it is also something that crosses international lines and builds bridges between diverse cultures. Even with all the variances in the human condition, there are many things that bring us all together. Volunteering and helping out our communities is perhaps one of the most important of those many things. Compassion for others is something that has no national language, and no agenda (although, unfortunately, some volunteering does have ulterior motives, but that’s a blog post for another time). This event may be a very small action compared to problems and goings-on in the rest of the world, but its impact is vast. I guess that’s why we call it The Big Event.