Registration for the inaugural Geaux Big Baton Rouge service project began last week, providing an opportunity to volunteer at various sites around the Baton Rouge community in April.
Geaux Big Baton Rouge is a new student organization founded in 2012 by public relations senior Elaine Giles and will begin its volunteering operations April 20.
Geaux Big Baton Rouge was founded out of Giles’ interest in starting an organization at the University that gives back to the community. After scouring the Web, she said she found an event she thought would be a fit for Baton Rouge.
“Geaux Big Baton Rouge modeled itself after the Big Event, which is a program that started at Texas A&M about 30 years ago and has expanded to schools across the country,” said Assistant Director of Campus Life Josh Dean.
The Big Event focuses on a one-day service project to help around the University’s community, garnering support from thousands of students.
“I thought, ‘Wow, this program has to be special, and it has to come to campus,’” Giles said.
The volunteers will be assigned to roughly 100 different project sites around Baton Rouge. Sites range from residential homes to nonprofit organizations such as churches or schools.
Giles said the organization is willing to take almost any job ranging from painting, cleaning, yard work or doing crafts with children. “The possibilities are endless,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of requests for painting, a lot of debris removal and a lot of cleaning in different buildings.”
Giles took her idea to Dean, and he helped Giles get the resources she needed to start the project.
Giles recruited four additional students to help with the task of starting the organization and to begin planning the details of the service project.
Over the past year, Giles and her team of student organizers have banded together to create what is now Geaux Big Baton Rouge.
“She’s really put her heart and soul into this the past year,” Dean said.
The service project looked to other universities as a guide to set different participation goals. According to Giles, Ole Miss had just more than 1,000 volunteers at its first event — a goal she thinks Baton Rouge can meet.
“We hope to have about 1,000 students participate in our first event in April,” Giles said.
Giles said she wants students to have fun volunteering while getting to know the people at the various service sites to feel a connection to the Baton Rouge community.
Dean said he wants volunteers to build a relationship with the people the volunteers are helping as well.
“Geaux Big Baton Rouge is a one-day service project, but we really hope the work of the day extends beyond just that one day,” Dean said. “We are trying to unite the community and LSU.”
Registration is also open to all faculty and staff members wishing to give back to the community.
“Regardless of age, gender, strength or size, there is an opportunity for everyone to get involved on this day of outreach and make a difference in our community,” said assistant director of Geaux Big volunteer recruitment Margaret Price via email.
Those interested can register by visiting geauxbig.lsu.edu. Fliers, posters and other promotional items will also be administered to students around campus beginning this week. Volunteer registration closes March 18.