Virtual CSC The Big Event A Success

Paola Rodriguez with “hug”

CHADRON – For the second consecutive year, Chadron State College’s The Big Event was forced to implement significant adjustments. After being impacted by roughly a foot of snow last spring, this year the event, like many others, moved to a virtual format due to COVID-19.

Instead of fulfilling community jobsites, CSC volunteers were encouraged to complete random acts of kindness, while following all current COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, and post it to social media using the hashtag #BigEventCSC2020.

The hope was for volunteers to spread kindness and positivity, according to The Big Event Graduate Assistant Kelsey Brummels.

“When asking the CSC community to complete random acts of kindness, the goal was to keep things simple,” Brummels said. “We asked volunteers to share their acts of kindness on social media so we could hopefully track how many volunteers participated, but also to see all of the unique and creative ways people gave back.”

For the eighth annual Big Event, volunteers did indeed get creative. Of the nearly 100 known volunteers, many wrote letters, thank you cards, or words of encouragement. Other acts of kindness included sewing face masks; painting and delivering kindness rocks; helping local farmers, ranchers, or neighbors; creating positive sidewalk chalk art; posting positive messages on social media; paying it forward; picking up litter; donating food or clothing items; and more.

CSC student Tierra Schroeder, a freshman from Hot Springs, South Dakota, helped organize an appreciation potluck at Fall River Health Services for the housekeeping and environmental services staff members. Schroeder, who works as a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Hot Springs organization, said she and others wanted to thank the team members and hopefully boost morale.

“The potluck had a very positive effect on those around us. All day the housekeeping and environmental team was in a great mood and very appreciative we had done an act of kindness for them,” Schroeder said. “I am glad CSC has The Big Event because it was so amazing to be a part of. This year especially, I think it showcased how small acts of kindness can go a long way.”

Twelve members of Residence Life Associate (RLA) created “hugs” for nursing homes. Assistant Director of Residence Life Mariah Nelson said CSC student Paola Rodriguez, a junior from Marquette, Nebraska, spearheaded the idea.

“Students traced the top half of their body with their arms outstretched and then drew cute pictures or encouraging phrases. That way we were not only sending a ‘hug’ but also some extra encouragement,” Nelson said.

Rodriguez said the “hugs” will be delivered to Crest View Care Center and hung up for residents to view.

CSC student Joel Schroeder, a senior from Paxton, Nebraska, chose to pay it forward in his community by placing money at two restaurants and a grocery store. He said this year’s event was a new experience but no matter where people were volunteering, it created a light of positivity in today’s unsettled world.

“I know that times are tough right now, so the least I could do is help pay for a meal or some groceries for my local community. I am so honored and blessed to be able to serve in such capacity,” Schroeder said. “Seeing how other students, faculty, staff, and community members were participating was very encouraging, knowing there is so much good in this world.”

Several CSC faculty and staff members joined in completing random acts of kindness.

Leyna Brummels, an accountant at CSC, decided to donate and deliver approximately 60 puzzles throughout the Chadron community for her act of kindness.

“I delivered puzzles to friends and colleagues and decided to also leave them as a surprise on other people’s doorsteps. I hope it provides an escape from any COVID-19 blues,” she said. “The Big Event was such a fun thing to do as a student, and now working for CSC, it is great to still give back to the community.”

Several campus programs got a jump-start in volunteering. Members of the Justice Studies Department joined forces to sew face masks for student workers on campus, and Project Strive/TRiO staff members sent motivational cards to their students.

“Whether volunteers gave back on Saturday, or earlier in the week, the outpouring acts of kindness were wonderful to see and read about on social media,” said The Big Event faculty adviser Dr. Shaunda French-Collins. “On behalf of the entire Big Event staff, we want to thank each participant for helping make the world a little brighter.”

For those who participated, The Big Event staff is asking volunteers to complete a brief survey and provide feedback.

—Kelsey R. Brummels, College Relations

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