More than 800 students fanned out across the Towson and Baltimore area last Saturday for The Big Event. The annual service program is the biggest of the year for Towson University.
Senior Michelle Patschke, a painting major, led a group of student volunteers at a community garden near campus. They mulched, weeded and prepared the ground for spring planting. Patschke is part of the Tigers Serving Others residential learning community and participates in service programs throughout the year.
“It was amazing to see so many people out on a Saturday morning to volunteer,” she says. “Towson is creating a great foundation for a culture of service and The Big Event is one of those programs that will only get bigger.”
Students began arriving to Newell Field by 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. Many with coffee in hand, they made their way to register in droves before dispersing to the 37 different sites, including Robert E. Lee Park, the Barclay-Greenmount Apartments and a number of locations throughout the Towson community.
Patschke was impressed by the turnout for such an early weekend morning.
“It really speaks to the type of people we have here. We don’t fit a mold many think of traditional college students,” she continues. “There are so many people, so many younger students, that don’t want to go home on weekends or sleep until noon. They want to get out and make this place better.”
In the coming weeks, more than 250,000 people will visit the area for the 46th Annual Towsontown Spring Festival and various programs for the community. Nancy Hafford, executive director for the Towson Chamber of Commerce, was on hand to thank the students for all of their service. The Monday after the event, she said neighbors and the business community were impressed with all that had been accomplished so quickly.
“I’ve gotten letters in the last few days from people in communities throughout the area telling me how wonderful it was to have the students helping out,” said Hafford. “The students don’t realize just how much of an impact this makes on Towson. We couldn’t have done this much work on our own to beautify this town. We couldn’t be more thankful.”