Pride Blossoms in Magnolia, Arkansas as Town and Gown Deliver Splash of Caring

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Magnolia, Arkansas residents come out to clean up the city with Big Splash event that teams SAU with the City of Magnolia.

SAU and city join forces to make positive change with popular, large clean-up event

City of Magnolia Arkansas Clean Up

UPDATE Nov, 19, 2015 4:17 pm:  Due to bad weather, the event has been postponed. Ark-La-Tex.com was told: "We have had to postpone the Big Splash cleanup to the spring. The weather Saturday looks too cold and windy, with a chance of rain. Our tentative reschedule date is April 2." 

Community leaders have come together in Magnolia, which is widely known as one of the most beautiful cities in the Ark-La-Tex, to host the third "Big Splash" city clean-up event on Saturday, November 21. The group Making Magnolia Blossom helped bring Southern Arkansas University and the City of Magnolia together to make this event happen.

"We are so excited about this Saturday," said Aaron Street, assistant dean for integrated marketing and media relations at SAU. "Because we had two other events that were so successful, we wanted to do it again. One was last fall and one this spring."

Street said one of the events cleaned "up and down" Main Street and brought out more than 500 people. "The excitement was so great that we wanted to keep up the energy," he added.

The civic group Making Magnolia Blossom helps the city and SAUFor this event, the Big Splash crew will turn their attention to North Jackson Street, and event organizers say the clean-up will help with preparations for Magnolia's annual Christmas parade. "Cleaning up Jackson Street is our goal," said the SAU integrated marketing assistant dean. "We'll be doing landscaping, cutting down growth and touching up things with paint."

According to Street, small groups from various organizations on campus and in the city have come out for the previous Big Splash events, and he expects this to continue on Saturday. "The fraternities are well represented, and we will have a few people come from one organization and a few from another group and so on."

He said the goal of the Big Splash event is to bring the community together and to improve the city. "We want to work hand in hand with SAU, the churches, the wider community, young and old - everybody really," Street added. "Several businesses have helped. Hampton Inn has been really supportive and has gotten a team together from the beginning."

Magnolia Arkansas clean-up event is called Big Splash Saturday
Big Splash is a Magnolia, Arkansas city clean-up event.
The group Making Magnolia Blossom began with individuals at the university. "It started at SAU," Street said. "The faculty and students wanted to use the manpower here to partner with the city and community to make a difference."

Southern Arkansas University had its largest freshman class this fall, and Street sees growth in Magnolia as well. "Magnolia is excited for growth," Street said. "We had a record freshman class and they had a blue and gold day on the square. It was amazing with thousands of people coming together."

Money has also been donated for the Big Splash event as city leaders and businesses have realized that harnessing manpower of the community benefits Magnolia. "We have always had a good amount of money for the event along with supplies and equipment," Street said. "We have had a lot of money donated and a stockpile of equipment - like 20 or 30 rakes. But people should bring their own weed eaters and supplies if they have them. It does help because we have so many people. But people don't need to bring anything."

Pride in Magnolia came early for Street who said his grandparents were from the area. Even though Street had the initial idea for the project, he does not wish to take any credit for the event. He said the idea came from a moment of inspiration. "My wife and I both work at SAU, and we were driving. It was kind of like divine inspiration," Aaron Street said. "So I offered it to my boss who was very receptive, and the first person I talked to about it was Deana Taylor [SAU community involvement/parent programming coordinator]. It grew from there."

"Everyone's invited, and we just want people to come on out," said Street, who worked at the Magnolia Banner News and Texarkana Gazette before coming to SAU. "If you have a favorite pair of work gloves, bring them."
The participation with the City of Magnolia has been wonderful for the event, according to Street. "We have worked hand in hand with them, and they have even come to us with suggestions."

Street said two buildings were identified as potential places Big Splash might be able to help. "We noticed two historic buildings - actually businesses. We thought they could use a little paint," he said. "The businesses love it and everyone does not have the time or money to think about improvements."

The Big Splash event will be held November 21 from 9 am to 4 pm. To register, go to MagnoliaBlossom.org. Participants should check in at the south entrance of SAU in the parking lot which is across from Overstreet Hall. Lunch will be provided.  Ark-La-Tex.com

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Ark-La-Tex.com News: Pride Blossoms in Magnolia, Arkansas as Town and Gown Deliver Splash of Caring
Pride Blossoms in Magnolia, Arkansas as Town and Gown Deliver Splash of Caring
Magnolia, Arkansas residents come out to clean up the city with Big Splash event that teams SAU with the City of Magnolia.
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