Chris Hein
CTW Assistant Hall Director, 402.270.0967

The Big Event, a day of community service provided by students, faculty and staff at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, will take place on Saturday, March 31, at various locations in the Kearney area.  
A kick-off celebration, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the fountain located between the Memorial Student Affairs Building and Copeland Hall, will open The Big Event’s activities. In the event of inclement weather, the kick-off celebration will be held in Cushing Coliseum.
On the national level, The Big Event is one of the largest student-run community service efforts, an annual event at more than 70 universities across the country. Recently, one of the sponsors of The Big Event, the University of Oklahoma, organized 5,000 volunteers across 162 project sites.  

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 variety of community service projects.

Chris Hein, a psychology major from David City and co-chair of The Big Event Executive Team, said The Big Event draws a number of students to participate because of their desire to get involved in the community, as well as the diverse project options they can choose from.

“The Big Event gives students the chance to do a variety of things from doing yard work for the elderly, to painting signs, to working with children, so volunteers aren’t stuck doing just one type of community service. They can pick and choose exactly what they want to do,” Hein said.

Some of the projects secured for The Big Event this year include washing windows at Kearney Manor, painting faces for children at the Kearney Area Children’s Museum, and doing yard work St. Luke’s Countryside Villa and various senior citizens in the Kearney area.

Hein said that while volunteers for The Big Event would like to help every individual in the Kearney area with a service project, it is requested that only nonprofit organizations or individuals who are physically unable to complete a project at their homes request volunteers for The Big Event.

Citizens interested in having a projected completed for their organization or for themselves should contact The Big Event Executive Team for a project request form, or log-on to  

Hein said the secondary goal for The Big Event Executive Team is to attract a larger number of participants than last year. He said they are currently planning for 300 volunteers to work at 40 job sites, an increase of 50 participants and 10 job sites from last year.

However, Hein said the primary goal of The Big Event Executive Team is to “give back to the Kearney community and let them know that we appreciate all the help and support that they continue to give to the UNK community from year to year.” 

Hein said The Big Event serves as a big “thank you” to the Kearney community for its assistance to UNK.

“Every year, the Kearney community gives a tremendous amount of support to UNK and its students, and it isn’t often that we get the chance to thank the community as a whole. The Big Event is a great way for students to all come together on one special day to make their appreciation known to the community,” Hein said.  

Aside from the anticipated increase in volunteers and jobs, there are a couple of other changes to The Big Event this year. Participants will received free T-shirts and a dance will be hosted for The Big Event participants later in the evening.

Other members of The Big Event’s Executive Team include Morgan Kenney, an organizational communication major from Bonner Springs, Kan.; Angela Reynolds, a business administration major from Wood River; Joel Hochstein, a social sciences education major from Hartington; and Luke Saulsberry, an organizational communication major from Auburn. Kenney co-chairs the team along with Hein, while Reynolds and Hochstein are in charge of sponsorship, and Saulsberry handles activities.
Hein said all of the UNK fraternities and sororities have pledged to help, and they are still recruiting volunteers and jobs for the event. Forms for registering project sites for The Big Event can be downloaded from, or picked up at the information desk of the Nebraskan Student Union.
To learn more about The Big Event at UNK or provide any support to theorganizers, visit, email the Executive Team or call (402) 270-0967 for more information.