Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Students continue to volunteer in Olympia

While thousands of students from the University of South Carolina were preparing to cheer on the UofSC Lady Gamecocks, a dedicated group of young people had “community service” on their minds. As part of UofSC’s BIG Event for student volunteers, hundreds of students fanned out over Columbia to provide services to local nonprofits on April 2.

The BIG Event is the largest student-led day of service held on campuses across the country. This year was the fourth annual BIG Event at the University of South Carolina. The BIG Event allows students at the University of South Carolina to show their gratitude to the Columbia community. Its purpose is to simply say “Thank You” to the Soda Citizens who make Columbia such a welcoming environment for all UofSC students. The hope is that by creating an opportunity for students to serve the city’s residents, a bridge will develop between the University of South Carolina’s student body and the Columbia community. The core of their mission is to continue improving the relationship between the city and university through acts of service.

Common work sites include homes, schools, parks, and nonprofit organizations. Project sites are chosen on a non-need basis, so anyone in the community could request volunteers for simple tasks like house/yard work, or litter cleanups. Some volunteers served as participants in activities that aid in connecting community members. Students were happy to be a part of any task that uplifts the citizens of the greater Columbia area.

Dr. Julian Capel, along with Melat Tarekegne, both from the Department of Student Life and Community Outreach, helped organize the event. They work year-round on this important community event, and their leadership encourages greater participation from students.

One of the program beneficiaries, led by Ms. Maxene Small, case manager with SBPUSA.ORG,had volunteers assist some local seniors as part of the 2015 Flood Program City of Columbia. Ms. Small says, “We truly appreciate the remarkable assistance we received from this event. We had over 30 volunteers providing assistance to our seniors, moving items into a POD, packing up the home, and placing items in the garage, clearing debris from the back yard, and other laboring tasks to assist with the disaster recovery process.”

Olympia Mill Village Museum was delighted to welcome 15 energetic young women from UofSC sorority Epsilon Sigma Alpha. After a tour of the Olympia Mill School, the workers got busy mopping and dusting inside the museum, while others worked outside watering shrubbery and clearing away fallen branches. We even had four teams walking our neighborhood tagging roll carts and getting them off the streets.

We are so grateful to be a part of this BIG Event, and we celebrate these young people for their service to Olympia Mill Village and to the greater Columbia area. We are sending out a special “Thank You” to all the sisters of the Epsilon Sigma Alpha service sorority for getting our museum spring cleaning done, but their biggest contribution is the lovely energy and spirit they shared! It was truly a very BIG Event for us! For more info go to or check us out on our FB page at “Friends of Olympia Mill Village Museum.”

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