Serving it Up in the Big East

Gina Palermo and Kyle Fitzgerald, Design Editor and Features Editor

Earlier this month, St. John’s participated in the first annual Big East Serves, a

day of community service created by the Big East Conference designed to help

participating schools get involved in their communities and to promote well-being

of athletes.

On March 11, various student athletes from different teams as well as faculty

and administrators all participated in the event, serving nine different charities and

organizations. The program is meant to promote a sense of community service,

health, well-being, leadership and development.

Val Ackerman, Big East commissioner, said, “The commitment to service is a

fundamental part of the missions of all of our schools, and we look forward to

building on their vital and ongoing work, as well as reinforcing the importance of

academic achievement, through this new platform.”

The Big East Serves used the Big East Day of Service in conjunction with the men’s

basketball tournament held at Madison Square Garden and the women’s

tournament in Chicago. The conference wanted this day of service to align with the

academic and service values of participating schools.

Emily Barnabas, a graduate student who worked at the Ronald McDonald

House said, “I think [Big East Serves] is great because it fosters a sense of

community. Even though we’re not serving directly with the schools in our athletic

conference, it’s good to know that we can all come together.”

Every school in the conference worked with different charities, but St. John’s

worked with organizations in Queens, Brooklyn, Long Island and Manhattan.

Doing service is not an uncommon thing for students who participated in

service day. “I just like giving back to the community… it’s just second nature to me,”

said senior Daniel Wall. “That’s one of my favorite things, just getting to interact

with the family because sometimes, people just forget that they’re normal people

even though they’re going through hardships.”

Volunteers were encouraged to take to social media and share their

experiences with the hashtag #BIGEASTSERVES and can even claim a digital badge

through the conference’s website.