NACOGDOCHES, TX - The Office of Student Life at Stephen F. Austin State University and the Nacogdoches County United Way have teamed up to promote a one-day, volunteer extravaganza: "The BIG Event!"

The community-service day will take place Friday, April 24, when SFA students will gather to thank the community by helping out with dozens of volunteer projects.

Michael Preston, director of student life, said SFA has many reasons to thank the Nacogdoches community. "It is our hope that, for at least one day, we can help give some of that back," Preston said.

"This is a day when we can say 'thank you' to Nacogdoches and dedicate a day of service to our community," Preston added. "This event is set to bring out the best of our students, faculty and staff and give back to Nacogdoches in a way that is really profound."

Gary Lee Ashcraft, executive director of the Nacogdoches County United Way, agreed. "SFA students are just incredible. They help in so many ways, but we are really excited about this chance to have so many come out," he said. "It will really show our community what SFA is all about."

The event will kick off with registration at 10 a.m. in the Baker Pattillo Student Center courtyard. When each participant checks in, he or she will be given an assignment card with directions to a volunteer site. A quick orientation and welcome session will begin at noon, and the volunteers will then be sent into the community.

The United Way has helped identify dozens of work assignments ranging from helping older residents with yard work and simple home repairs to assisting local nonprofit organizations with special projects. The event is designed for maximum impact in Nacogdoches, while fitting into the busy schedules of volunteers.

At the end of the day, students and members of the SFA faculty and staff will check in at the commuter parking lot. Students will then be encouraged to participate in the Springfest Kick Off sponsored by the Student Activities Association, which begins at 6 p.m. in the commuter lot. This year, the event will feature the Big Axe Truck Show and a concert by Texas country artists Kyle Kenny and Colt Pope.

"We really feel like this can change Nacogdoches and become an annual event," Preston said.

Students may register for this event by calling the SFA Involvement Center at (936) 468-6721 or by e-mailing their name, cell phone number and e-mail address to Anyone aware of a need for volunteers may complete a job request form at

For additional information, contact Preston at (936) 468-2988 or Ashcraft may be contacted at (936) 564-5869 or