Over 500 Lopers volunteer across Kearney for Big Event


Students clean the front lawn of the Kearney Women’s Club. Photo by Mariah Watson / Antelope Staff

Mariah Watson

On April 22, over 570 students participated in the Big Event, a student-run community service project. Volunteers served at 80+ sites in Kearney during the morning-long event organized by UNK Student Government.  

The Big Event is hosted to provide students the opportunity to repay the Kearney community for supporting UNK.  

“There are so many people in the (Kearney) community, whether it’s businesses, organizations, individuals, that give a lot to UNK’s campus and individual students on campus,” said Allie Daro, the student organizer for the Big Event. “So, I feel like it’s a really great opportunity for people at UNK to give back to the Kearney community.”  

Organizations and individuals in Kearney registered to have their service included in the Big Event. Students served at a variety of job sites, from washing windows for an elderly woman to creating no-sew blankets for a summer camp.

Members of UNK student organizations made an impact with their groups at job sites.

“We helped a lot of elderly people do things that they wouldn’t usually be able to do on their own,” said Chloe Kolb, a senior majoring in family science. “I went with my organization, Alpha Phi, and we helped the women of the Kearney Women’s Club with mulching outside of their place.”

Student volunteers were eager to give back to the community during the Big Event.

“We get to show the community our love, like the community shows us their love throughout the school year,” said Bailey Flynn, a senior majoring in business administration.

According to UNK News, The Big Event started at Texas A&M University in 1982. UNK has participated in this day of community service for about 20 years.

Planning for The Big Event for 2023 began nearly a year ago.

“I started planning in June of 2022 with reserving facilities,” Daro said. “I was the one that got all the Qualtrics responses, and kind of sorted through those to confirm job site requests and keep track of the people that had signed up.”

Daro oversaw most planning leading up to the event. Planning included arranging breakfast and lunch for the students and ordering T-shirts from the communications and marketing department.  

Student leaders helped run everything the morning of the Big Event.

“I would say quite honestly, the least I had to do was on the day of the event because then a lot of the responsibility was delegated to zone leaders who helped with check-in and were volunteers and job sites’ point of contact the day of,” Daro said.

Community members are appreciative of students’ service and look forward to being involved with The Big Event year after year.

“I’ve had multiple people that signed up at job sites email me and talk about how wonderful their volunteers were and how much they loved having the Big Event, how much they’re looking forward to it again for next year,” Daro said. “And I think that’s really positive. Not only to plan the event and help organize it, but also to have that positive feedback and that positive impression left so that it can continue to grow for years to come.”