HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Over 500 Southern Miss students joined together Saturday morning to give back to the Hattiesburg community.
USM Student Government hosted "The Big Event" Saturday, spreading hundreds of volunteers across 25 sites in the Hub City. This is the seventh year USM has taken part in the program held by colleges across the county.
Andrew Causey, a student director for "The Big Event" said he was pleased to see more than 500 of his peers wake up and give back to the community he loves."
"It's really encouraging," said Causey. "They love this city as well and it's been great to all of us. The support they give to USM makes me want to go out and do all I can to make this city better as well."
"The Big Event" connects students with community service projects that are mutually beneficial for volunteers and organizations. On Saturday, student volunteers headed to Hattiesburg elementary schools, The Salvation Army, local animal shelters and more.
"I'm a native of Hattiesburg, so the last 21 years, I've had the opportunity to live here and see the impact that Hattiesburg has given to Southern Miss' community," said co-organizer, Caroline Ross Bradley. "It's important, since Southern Miss is housed in Hattiesburg, to give back to a wonderful community to make it the best it can be."
Volunteers at Hawkins Elementary spent the morning painting a sign in at the front entrance, preparing the school for upcoming testing and putting together gifts for the school's "Teacher Appreciation Week."
School Counselor Della Watson said she is thankful for projects like "The Big Event."
"It is wonderful, they are getting a lot of projects done for us that we wouldn't of been able to get done," said Watson. "We have a lot of busy people around our campus, so to have people come in and get some of the things done for us helps us move along with the school year."
"The Big Event" also spread to the Gulf Coast on Saturday. Volunteers at the Southern Miss Gulf Park Campus worked in conjunction with the 2017 Blue Cross Blue Shield Get Ready to Run Kids' One-Mile Fine Run. Students provided support on the course for runners.