Fort Wayne will be overrun Saturday by a herd of Mastodons wearing IPFW royal blue as a record number of volunteers take part in the university's BIG Event, an annual day of community service.
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne had 1,100 volunteers signed up as of Saturday night, the preregistration deadline, said Krissy Creager, director of student life. Last year, about 870 people preregistered.
“I think, in a lot of ways, the event is continuing to catch on as something you do on this campus,” Creager said.
Student leaders also spent a lot of time promoting participation, she said. In addition, she noticed a huge increase in the number of faculty and staff taking part.
Event participation is open to IPFW students, staff, faculty, administrators and alumni. Those who didn't preregister but want to help still can register 9-9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Gates Athletic Center fieldhouse.
The Big Event started in 1982 at Texas A & M University and spread gradually to other colleges and universities, now including some in Australia, Germany, Italy, Pakistan and Spain, it says on the Texas A & M Big Event Web page, http://bigevent.tamu.edu. This year, about 110 U.S. schools plan to hold BIG Events this Saturday.
Creager said participants, who will be wearing royal blue IPFW T-shirts, seem to enjoy taking part in IPFW's BIG Event for three main reasons:
•They get to visit a local nonprofit organization they probably never have previously, and they can donate time to help.
•They witness the impact of their work immediately.
•They can help the community while working alongside other members of the IPFW “family.”
This year, IPFW volunteers will work at 55 nonprofit organizations in the community, Creager said. Volunteers are asked to report to the Gates Center fieldhouse at 9 a.m. to get their project assignment. They will work 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with transportation provided to and from their work site.
Volunteers can take part in a “victory party” when they return.
The work will range from painting, landscaping and minor repair work to office work, cleaning and working with animals, an IPFW news release said.
The agencies will provide all of the tools and supplies volunteers need to complete their assignment, Creager said. Volunteers should dress for the weather and wear close-toe shoes and clothing they don't mind getting dirty.