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The Big Event: Volunteers tackle community service projects
Abby Richter
Antelope Staff
Photo by Lyndsey Luxford
Sarah Mulder, a news editorial major from North Platte, and Dixie Green, a resident of Cambridge Assisted Living rival each other in a game of baseball on a Nintendo Wii during last year's Big Event. Mulder volunteered with the Students In Mass Media organization.

A rapidly spreading epidemic has hit the UNK campus, but no, it’s not some dangerous spreading disease. It’s a mass amount of UNK students volunteering to do community service for the city of Kearney.

Yes, I said it—college students are actually volunteering to do community service.  Now that’s a foreign concept.  

What is the cause of this outreach of kindness among UNK students? Three words—The Big Event, and yes, it is a big deal.

UNK will host its fifth annual Big Event Saturday, April 10, a day of community service provided by UNK students, faculty and staff.

This event started at Texas A&M University 27 years ago, and it has become a nationwide event among over 70 universities in the U.S., including UNK, where it has been growing for the past five years.

Volunteers for The Big Event at UNK will participate in service projects that benefit nonprofit organizations and individuals in the Kearney area. Whether it is landscaping at a city park or painting a fence for a senior citizen, volunteers will engage in a wide variety of community service.

Regan Ruhl, director of Student Organizations and Affairs at UNK, is one of the many UNK students helping to organize this event. “Setting up events such as The Big Event goes right along with want I want to do in my career,” Ruhl said. “The marketing, promoting, getting all the supplies and volunteers and running the event all are great resume builders for me.”

Many students probably wonder why they should volunteer for The Big Event when they have a busy enough schedule as it is.

“Students should get involved with The Big Event because it is a great way to volunteer and have fun,” Ruhl said. “This is volunteer work that looks good on resumes, and it's a way to thank the Kearney community for the undying support it gives to UNK.”

This event does look good on students’ resumes, but it betters the community in many ways. “Anyone can send in a job request, and as long as they supply the tools needed, we supply the students to get the job done,” Ruhl said. “It helps improve the look of the community, and it helps with any needs the community has.”

 Last year, the event drew in approximately 300 UNK students, faculty and staff, and they are expecting at least that many or more this year. Any UNK student, faculty or staff member can sign up for this event.

For more information, contact The Big Event staff at

Although The Big Event has become the largest one-day, student-run service project in the nation, the message and mission remain the same among all universities—to simply say “Thank You.”

Reporter Lyndsey Luxford

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