Chadron State College’s seventh annual The Big Event had a first Saturday: it became the first one impacted by a snow storm. Approximately 12 inches of snow and a blizzard in the Chadron area days before the event reduced the number of planned jobsites from about 50 to half that number, according to Dr. Shaunda French-Collins, associate professor, who coordinates the annual day of service. In spite of the change of plans, French-Collins said hundreds of students and employees volunteered.

“I am so proud of The Big Event staff. These students, under the leadership of graduate assistant Kelsey Brummels, worked so hard. From implementing the first ever Mini Big Event in the fall, to accepting the difficult challenges of a blizzard the week of, the students pressed on and it showed Saturday,” French-Collins said.

Among the change of plans were activities in Old Admin to benefit military veterans and active service members. The volunteers wrote letters and assembled stress balls to be distributed in care packages.

Nearly 40 volunteers painted 200 ceramic tiles in Memorial Hall for Capstone Child Advocacy Center. Professor Mary Donahue, who helped organize the effort, said the tiles are part of a fundraising project to remodel the center’s interviewing room.

Rev. Bonnie McCord with the United Methodist Church said student volunteers scooped snow at the parsonage, while others cleaned out storage areas, moved file cabinets, and hauled discarded items to dumpsters.

“The students from The Big Event were absolutely delightful. Everyone pitched in, no matter what the job was, and we were finished in an hour,” McCord said.

Adam Stone with Game Changer said The Big Event volunteers accomplished in two hours what would have taken him 20 hours. Students cleaned machines, wrapped cords, removed trash, dusted and vacuumed.

“He told me that he was very grateful,” said Jen Schaer, director of Project Strive/TRiO, who also worked at the site.

Another indoor project was at Assumption Arena. Joel Schroeder of Paxton volunteered with the Health Professions Club, one of several groups who combined efforts to package more than 10,000 meals that will be sent by St. Patrick’s Catholic Church to people in areas of need around the world.

“Being able to give back to such an awesome community that gives so much to this college is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world. Helping with The Big Event has definitely been a highlight of the past three years at Chadron State,” Schroeder said.

Coach John Ritzen said he was excited to finally have a competition schedule that allowed the women’s golf team to participate.

“They enjoyed giving back to the community that provides them so much support. We are very fortunate to have the community support that Chadron provides and The Big Event is one way we can show our appreciation,” Ritzen said.

Other jobsites included Chadron parks, the Chadron Public Library, the Bean Broker, Crest View Care Center, Consuming Fire Dance Studio, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Immanuel Lutheran Church, and snow shoveling and other outdoor work at a number of private residences.

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