Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Student wins free semester of college at “Big Bucks & BBQ” event

Thursday, September 2, 2021
Student and organizers pose with free semester of college check at "Big Bucks & BBQ" event. From left to right: Joey Babich, Chloe Sutherland, John Haggerty, Reece Hammond. Photo by Jeff Brune.

Hopes for a free semester of college, a set of AirPod Pro’s, a $100 Amazon gift card and hot dogs brought more than 870 Southeast students to Parker Field for the first “Big Bucks & BBQ” event Aug. 31.

“The biggest thing is just trying to provide an awesome event for the campus to have and an awesome event for students to come out and have a good time,” Campus Outreach Memphis campus director Joey Babich said.

Campus Outreach Memphis, a campus ministry organized and hosted the event with the help of Lighthouse Ministries and McDonald’s. Campus Outreach purchased the AirPod Pro’s and $100 Amazon gift card. Lighthouse Ministries grilled 2,000 hot dogs, and McDonald’s sponsored the raffle for a free semester of tuition.

Hot dogs, music, camaraderie and one raffle ticket were provided to all students in attendance. Additional raffle tickets ranging from $1 to $10 were available for purchase to provide participants with a greater chance of winning. McDonald’s also provided 15 free tickets to students who applied for jobs at the restaurant.

Students who registered for the “Big Buck & BBQ” event filled out a form providing their name and contact information. The form provided the opportunity for students to choose to be signed up for a Bible study.

Raffle ticket No. 167192, belonging to musical theater major sophomore Chloe Sutherland, won the free semester of college. Sutherland said she had entered 16 tickets, a combination of one for registering for the event and 15 for filling out a McDonald’s job application. She said winning the free semester of college will be a financial relief.

“My parents won’t have to take out a loan for a semester, which will be crazy and a big blessing,” Sutherland said. “I can't believe I won. What are the odds? I’m just so thankful for this whole event.”

Prizes were just a bonus to this fun-filled event. Cyber security major freshman Zachary Payeur said he had just recently learned about the Campus Outreach organization.

“I think it’s really important for our student body to be incorporated in these events,” Payeur said. “It really gives a lot of people opportunities to meet new people.”

Students learned about “Big Bucks & BBQ” by word of mouth, flyers and social media. Babich said this event is really about bringing Southeast students together.

“We’re a student organization, but we’re a campus ministry trying to help students get connected to one another, get connected with other students on campus, but also just help people grow in their relationship with God,” Babich said.

Babich said he wants to make “Big Bucks & BBQ” an annual event.

“Our hope is that it goes so well this year that maybe in the future, the university would really want to help us put it on and make it even like a welcome back-to-school type of event,” Babich said.

All proceeds from the raffle went to supporting students to attend big events for Campus Outreach Memphis. The upcoming events this year are: the New Year’s Conference, Spring Retreat and Orlando Project. These events are meant to provide college students an environment to build a strong spiritual foundation through Biblical teachings. To learn more about the organization, visit their website.