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Excitement Builds for the BIG EVENT 

The BIG EVENT is a full day of community service on Saturday, April 21. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 13, 2018) – Why is senior Megan Gonzalez of Canajoharie signing up to volunteer on April 21 for UAlbany’s inaugural BIG EVENT?

“I think it’s such a positive thing to take advantage of a campus population of this size to all come together to do so many different events on one day, but centered around doing everything we can to help the community and each other,” Gonzalez said.

The BIG EVENT is a full day of community service, and all students, faculty and staff are invited to take part. There are 20 on-campus volunteer opportunities and eight off-campus locations.

“The BIG EVENT is bigger than the students, it’s bigger than faculty and staff,” said Cheryl Simmons of the Center for Student Leadership and Service. “This event is to give back to the community that surrounds us, the community that some of us live in. This community needs us, all of us and our faculty, staff, grounds crew, bus drivers and students. Together we can make a difference.”

“We are hoping for 100 percent participation from our campus community,” said Martha Asselin, director of the center and coordinator of the BIG Event. “Everyone participating in this day will have a valuable experience. UAlbany will be supporting our community at large through acts of kindness from all of our volunteers. Volunteers will discover they set an excellent example for others and will learn how volunteering is great for your social life!”

The UAlbany community is invited to participate in the weekly planning meetings that take place every Wednesday at 2 p.m. in the Center for Leadership and Service.

“We are getting ready for an amazing day of service!” Asselin said.

The Student Association came up with another way to get involved.

This year’s Relay For Life (also part of the event) is hero-themed, Simmons said. Volunteers at the BIG EVENT will seek to break the Guinness World Record for most individuals wearing capes in one location. The last record was set April 21, 2017 in Anaheim, Calif. at an Angels baseball game. SA plans to have a “decorate your cape event” leading up to the BIG EVENT, where students and staff who have registered early can glam up their capes. After the event, the capes will be donated for children who are patients in local hospitals.

Kayla James, a second-year graduate student in the School of Criminal Justice, will volunteer with Sound the Alarm, which aims to decrease the number of area fires due to malfunctioning or poorly placed smoke detectors. Students will help community leaders install free smoke detectors in local residences on April 21.

“Many of my friends are interested in doing community service but don’t know where to start,” said James, who is from Baldwin, N.Y. “The BIG EVENT will be the perfect way to kick off a new habit of giving back.”

Simmons noted that volunteers can give as much, or as little, time as they have to spare on April 21. “For some a day-long volunteer event is satisfying. For others there could be an event that takes as little as three minutes of your life. For instance, Be the Match requires you only to fill out a form and have your mouth swabbed. This will put the volunteer in a national database where they could possibly be a bone marrow donor for someone in need.”

Volunteers will be able to sign up through EngageUAlbany within the next few weeks - more to come on this later. For more information, stop by the Center for Leadership and Service in room B-92, Campus Center West, or contact Martha Asselin at masselin@albany.edu.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.