By Randee Iles
Two years ago, volunteers did an estimated 4,948 hours of work for the Baton Rouge community in less than one day.
While LSU has many service events, Geaux Big Baton Rouge focuses specifically on the Baton Rouge community.
Founded in 2013, LSU took the idea from “The Big Event” which Texas A&M has put on for more than 30 years. Founded in 1982, The Big Event was conceived as a chance for Aggies to come together for one day of combined service in local homes and beyond to show gratitude to the community surrounding the university. This year, more than 22,000 A&M students have signed up to pitch in to the project.
Student Life assistant director of marketing and communication Margo Jolet thinks the effort is a great idea and hopes Geaux Big will become as big as A&M’s one day.
“We realized this is something that we should be doing too,” she said. “We did a lot of service events but we didn’t always do service events that were intended for the sheer purpose of thanking the community.”
Jolet said they are expecting 1,500 volunteers for the 2015 event. She said she thinks this is beneficial for the volunteers.
“It’s a way for LSU students who get so much from the Baton Rouge community to give back to the folks of the Baton Rouge community,” she said. “Whether that’s individual home owners or non-profits or schools.”
This year’s Geaux Big Baton Rouge will take place on March 28, with check in at 7 a.m. Volunteers will assemble and work at their sites from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. doing whatever work is requested, from painting to yard work to cleaning.
Work sites include residences, schools, nonprofits, and, starting this year, even for-profit businesses. Jolet said they realize that for-profit businesses also need help, and that it made sense to loosen the qualifications to be a Geaux Big worksite.
“Really the only restriction that we have is your physical location and whether we could get to you in enough time to do work at your site,” Jolet said.
Another change in Geaux Big Baton Rouge this year is the registration period. The first two events had more time for people to volunteer, but starting this year registration is only open from Feb. 1 to Feb. 15. This change in timespan is mostly to help Student Life with organization – they will need to match volunteers with the more than 70 work sites available.
Students, faculty, staff and even community members can volunteer individually or in teams. Jolet said many school clubs and Greek organizations volunteer as teams and work together.
Registration is free and can be done online or in Free Speech Alley on LSU campus.