In Photos: The Big Event Works To Build A Better Gainesville

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The Gainesville community held two neighborhood clean-ups as part of a community-wide service project called The Big Event Saturday.

Porters and Pleasant Street neighborhoods received a cleaning on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.

The day-long event featured volunteers from different organizations at the University of Florida working on improving these two communities by providing painting and raking among other services.

“I wanted to bring the Big Event to UF because I saw it was a great way to connect students to the greater Gainesville community,” said UF Student Body President Susan Webster.

Webster was inspired by other universities around the country that had The Big Event take place on their campus and decided to bring it to Gainesville.

“Students also got the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the community in which they live and grow,” she said.

University of Florida students gather at Porters Community Center, 512 SW 6th Ave., around 11 a.m. Saturday. Most volunteers wore matching shirts, donning “The Big Event.” The Big Event, a nationwide service movement in its first year at the UF, sponsored Saturday’s community cleanup. It’s slogan: “Build a better Gainesville.” (Carter Fish/WUFT News)


Big Event volunteers Felicia Sedwick and Analiese Wagner found fun in their work when they needed to clear their gloves. (Carter Fish/WUFT News)


Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe, UF President Fuchs, The Big Event Chair Zachary Morris, Student Body President Susan Webster, and Coach Steve Spurrier pose for a photo after the gave speeches at the event’s kick-off Saturday morning on UF’s North Lawn before the volunteers dispersed to their work sites. Volunteers worked until 3 p.m. Saturday. (Carter Fish/WUFT News)







Big Event volunteer Jack Deloach was tasked with organizing tiles at his site. (Carter Fish/WUFT News)


Porters community member Theo Barry moved into his mother’s home (pictured) in 2015 after her death. Barry made the move to Gainesville after having lived in California for 35 years. “The community is beautiful now,” Barry said. “It has changed a lot over the years [since his mother began living in Porters].” Barry spoke highly of the cleanup volunteers, noting that they were doing an excellent job.  (Brianna Wright/WUFT News)
Volunteer Omarley Spence organized plant pots for some of the afternoon with his group. (Carter Fish/WUFT News)


Volunteer Issy Ojalvo and his group were tasked with cleaning leaves and bugs out of sinks. (Carter Fish/WUFT News)


Volunteers Brandon Coons and Carlos Piedrahita did some more of the “heavy duty” work and carried fans across a property. (Carter Fish/WUFT News)


Official staff member at The Repurpose Project, Wanda Burnette-Walker, helps supervise The Big Event volunteers at the project’s location. (Carter Fish/WUFT News)


UF freshman Natacha Jn-Simon begins to paint the Porters community member’s fence. She uses a paint roller to apply the paint. Many of the volunteers were members of the Innovation Leadership Program on campus, which is a branch of the Black Student Union. The program began at UF in 2013. (Brianna Wright/WUFT News)


About Brianna Wright

Brianna Wright is a reporter for WUFT. She is a third-year journalism major at the University of Florida with a minor in leadership. She can be reached at 321-750-2369 or

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