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The Big Event, the University of Oklahoma's official day of community service, is accepting applications for nonprofit or community organizations to participate in the eighth annual Big Event April 14.

Last year, more than 4,000 OU students participated in The Big Event by volunteering at various locations in Norman, Oklahoma City and surrounding communities. Volunteers spent their time last year at schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations doing painting, landscaping, cleaning and other volunteer tasks. Almost 140 nonprofit and community-based organizations were served during the 2006 Big Event.

Chairman Josh Davis, OU Health and Exercise Sciences senior, said The Big Event is an important event for both the university and the community.

"In eight years of existence on the Norman campus, The Big Event at the University of Oklahoma has grown to be the largest student-led event on our campus and one of the largest community service efforts in the state of Oklahoma," he said.

Davis said he expects more than 4,500 OU students, faculty and staff to participate this year. "This year we are once again looking forward to supplying over 120 community-based organizations with our OU student, faculty and staff volunteers," he said.

"This year we are also excited to be recognized as an Official Project of the Oklahoma Centennial and look forward to the opportunity of becoming part of our state's history through our commitment to Norman and Oklahoma City metro area communities."

OU President David L. Boren encouraged students to adopt the event on the OU campus in 1999. Boren helps kick off the event each year by speaking to students before they disperse to job sites.

The Big Event began in 1982 at Texas A--M University in College Station, Texas. It has since spread to more than 70 universities across the country, making The Big Event the largest student-run community service effort in the nation.

Volunteer and nonprofit organizations interested in hosting volunteers April 14 can call 325-7912 or visit http://bigevent.ou.edu for more information. Volunteers are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Big Event also is looking for companies or individuals who would like to help sponsor OU's Official Day of Community Service in any way possible. For information about possible sponsorship, visit http://bigevent.ou.edu or call 325-7912.

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