WILKES-BARRE — Last spring, Wilkes University football player Tyheed Jackson spent part of a Sunday cleaning up Bear Creek Park with his teammates as part of the school’s Big Event, and the defensive back said he loved it.
“It was nice to get out in nature and help out,” Jackson, of Horsham, said.
This year, the sophomore said the president of the university’s Multicultural Student Coalition asked him to represent the club for the event’s planning, so he joined its committee board and took a coordinator position.
And according to the 18-year-old, he and the football team plan to return to the park this April during Wilkes University’s third annual Big Event, a universitywide community service day to be held April 26.
Projects are being sought, and Jackson said there is no shortage of Colonels looking for work.
“Last year 350 staff, alumni, students and faculty participated. This year we’re anticipating over 500,” said Kassandra Bugg, the Big Event’s student coordinator.
Organizers are now looking to the community to help Wilkes help the community by submitting ideas and suggestions for projects.
In the past, participants have done landscaping work, cleaned property damage, painted fences, raked leaves and cleaned the riverfront, Jackson said, but he’s open to new volunteering opportunities.
“Especially,” he said, “with little kids and keeping them involved and active.”
According to Bugg, many participants join en masse as part of a club or student organization, and event coordinators then try to assign projects based on group interests, specialties and skills.
University Director of Public Relations Vicki Mayk said the Big Event represents one of the most visible components of the university’s dedication to serving the area.
“Wilkes University has a significant commitment to community service,” she said. “It’s in our mission statement, and we consider service learning an integral part of education.”
Mayk said many students participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, local food drives and the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. This weekend, a handful of students will embark on an alternative spring break, in which they will spend the week working as volunteers, she said.