After spending years at Wesleyan, senior mass communication major Akeel Johnson gets to fulfill a dream of his before graduating this spring.

“I was actually very excited when they asked me to paint the mural and come up with sketches,” Johnson said. “Honestly, it’s kind of been one of the things on my bucket list that I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve loved art since I was little, and I’ve always liked doing art.”

Painting a mural on the bridge on Collard Street is just one of the four service projects in Texas Wesleyan’s Big Service event. The event is a community service event that will have students and organizations come together Saturday to clean up and fix up different sites, such as an abandoned car wash, the Polytechnic Cemetery and an alleyway near Glick House, all within walking distance of campus.

Senior theater major Skylar Peters, along with Barbara Barnhart, the assistant director of student engagement, started working on this project at the beginning of the fall 2018 semester.

“It was just something we wanted and something that everyone can come together as a community,” Peters said. “We have things like the spring break service project where we’re going out, and we’re doing stuff. A lot of the times people go out and try to fix things, but we forget to kind of focus on our own little hometown.”

Peters said she hopes to have a good turnout for the event.

“We have about 30 students and organizations that are interested, so that’s really good for usual population turnout for us,” she said. “I’m just hoping that it helps the community and gets the community to see who Wesleyan is. I’m hoping it gets our face kind of out there and helps the organizations to get their face out there as well.”

Peters also said a lot of preparation went into this event since it’s off-campus.

“You have to call the city to get (the projects) approved,” Peters said. “Everything like that you have to call and get approval for all of it. That was a little bit of a process, but nothing too painful.”

Peters said the event was inspired by service projects done by the University of North Texas and Baylor University, and people at those universities also helped with deciding the project name.

“They’re (the other universities’ service projects) super-efficient and a big thing that students wait for. UNT’s is also called the Big Service event, so I asked them why that title,” she said. “They were like, ‘That’s just how it works. We just wanted it to be what it is. This is what you’re doing.’ So we just followed suit.”

Peters said she’d like the event to become an annual Earth Day celebration for the campus.

“The day we wanted to do it was on Earth Day, but that is Easter weekend, so we moved it to the week before it,” Peters said. “We’re trying to get as close as we could to it. We want it to be an Earth Day celebration also.”

Peters said she’d also like to see the event grow.

“Hopefully we do different sites,” Peters said. “The idea is that once we kind of fix something, we maintain it, and kind of keep it going. Then we move on to more sites that might need more help when we’re looking into the future.”

Senior business administration and marketing major Alex Howley hadn’t heard of the event, but he thinks it’s a good project idea.

“I think it sounds like a cool opportunity,” Howley said. “You’re not only making a good campus for yourself, but for everyone else.”

Howley said participating in service projects is something all students should do.

“I feel like service projects are a good way to get involved on campus,” Howley said. “From my experience, I feel like the more connected you are to things on campus the better the college experience is because you don’t feel like you just go here.”

The Big Service event is 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Students wishing to sign up for the event should contact Skylar Peters at speters02@txwes.edu.

Senior theater major Skylar Peters (above) worked with Barbara Barnhart to plan the Big Service event.
Photo by Hannah Onder