'Big Event' evokes big effort from NSU

By Dustin Woods
NSU Staff Writer

(Tahlequah, OK)--As Tahlequah emerges from the grip of winter, students, faculty and staff at Northeastern State University are rolling up their sleeves.

“Seriously, it's about helping your community,” Seth Vansell, NSU junior and Big Event planning committee member, said of the upcoming community service day.

The "Big Event" became a spring fixture for NSU students five years ago when 35 volunteers organized by NSU Herb Rozell scholars dedicated a day's work to the community. The event has grown exponentially and last year attracted more than 600 volunteers.

“The Big Event is a day of service for NSU students, faculty and staff," said Kathleen Kennedy, NSU director of Campus Involvement. "Groups go out into the community and help by cleaning, painting, and participating in other chores to make life better for others.”

Chores for the volunteers range from run-of-the-mill housework like gardening, raking and cleaning to painting bridges and building baseball backstops.

“If someone would like for their project to be done, they just need to fill out a job request form and submit it to student activities in the UC basement," said Darla Rodgers, NSU junior and Big Event community liaison. "We are really trying to help the elderly and anyone else who can’t tackle the projects themselves.”

Shannon Hyslope of Tahlequah is working on a chore list for her mother’s home near Normal Street.

“I think she would love for someone to come in and help her,” Hyslope said.

Her mother usually worked in her flower beds and raked the leaves until she broke her hip.

“She’s not getting around as easily as she would like," Hyslope said. "It would be good if we can get some of it done; that way I don’t worry that she’s out there trying to do it herself,” Hyslope said.

The Big Event is March 27 and involves hundreds of NSU students representing virtually every organization on campus.

“NSU's O.I.L. Delegation will be participating with a group of 11 volunteers,” said Amber Buker, NSU junior and O.I.L. chair. “A lot of our other members will be there for various other groups which they are involved in. We are all excited to roll up our sleeves and impact Tahlequah in a tangible way.”

Although making a positive impact in the community is the goal of the Big Event, the reward for volunteers can be the satisfaction of a good day's work and helping others.

“It helps me to remember that I belong to a larger community and that I am responsible for making it a better place,” said Kennedy. “It also helps people see that NSU cares and wants to be part of making Tahlequah a great place to live. The community supports us throughout the year and this is our chance to say thank you.”

The Big Event begins when students gather at Jack Dobbins Field House at 8:45 a.m. to receive assignments and continues throughout the afternoon as jobs are completed. Those interested in making a job request or offering assistance may contact the Student Activities office at (918) 444-2526.

Published: 3/8/2010 3:14:01 PM

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