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What is The Big Event?

The Big Event is Washburn's annual community service event sponsored by the Washburn Student Government Association (WSGA). Typically in late March or early April, Washburn students, staff and supporters go out into the Topeka community and volunteer for few hours as a large group at different agency locations.

It is completely free for volunteers, all you have to do is sign up!

Who can volunteer?

Anyone affiliated with Washburn can volunteer!

Big Event volunteers pose with a Ronald McDonald statue.

Who are we helping this year?

Each year, the Director putting on the event reaches out to agencies, so every year is a little bit different!

For 2024, we are collaborating with Capper Foundation, KS Children's Discovery Center, University Child Development Center, Topeka Rescue Mission, Topeka Civic Theatre, Shawnee Country Recreation, Harvesters, Ronald McDonald House and Let's Help Inc.

If you are interested in participating in The Big Event, you will need to use the United Way volunteer website. If you don't already have a free account, it is helpful to use your address. If you have any questions about signing up watch the helpful step-by-step guide video about how to sign up.

Students pose for a photo at a playground during The Big Event.

What kind of work should I expect?

A lot of the work we usually help with is outdoor clean up or beautification. Raking leaves, shoveling mulch, mowing and pruning, but also a lot more! We're excited this year to have some potential painting options available.

There are alternative options available if what is listed above is something outside of your accessibility range.

Students pose for a photo outside during the Big Event.

Can groups volunteer together?

Yes! When signing up on the United Way volunteer website with your address, the group lead can enter in everyone's information together. If you have questions around signing up as a group, watch the helpful step-by-step guide video about how to sign up.

Whenever possible, we will attempt to keep groups together, however there are times when we may need to split up a group based on the number of work site requests.

What does the day of look like?

Volunteers will check in and assemble into their groups on Washburn's campus between 8:30-9 a.m., where there will be some grab and go breakfast options available. From there, busses will transport volunteers so their assigned sites. Each group will have an assigned group leader who will take attendance and have some extra responsibilities throughout the day. The busses will be back to pick up volunteers around 12:30 p.m. and bring you back to Washburn's campus where will be a free lunch option available.

Do I have to stay the entire day?

We strongly encourage volunteers be there the entire time. If that is not an option for you due to a previous commitment, you must get special permission from the event director to use your own transportation. Once you've registered, you are expected to notify the event director of any changes to your schedule that would impede your involvement in The Big Event.

What kind of clothing should I wear?

If you have some old Washburn gear, we'd love to see it! Otherwise, please wear clothes that you don't mind getting sweaty, dirty, wet, or all of the above. Comfortable close-toed shoes are a must. It may be wise to bring a sweatshirt or jacket based on what the weather looks like for the morning.

Who should I contact with further questions?

The director for the event this year is Liz Duvall (she/her) who can be reached at

Thank you in advance

Thank you for signing up to be a Big Event volunteer. We hope you have a great day helping our local Topeka community. We also hope that you will have a positive, upbeat attitude when you arrive and throughout the day. The Big Event is a big program which requires patience and flexibility from the volunteers. We want to thank you in advance for being the kind of volunteer who doesn’t create problems but helps solve them

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