Community Collaboration

Laken Kuenzel, senior, 22, of Gilette, Wyoming, and Trysha Brierly, 16, a high school student of Chadron, scrape paint from the side of a shed at the Bill Dowling American Legion Post 12.

Laken Kuenzel, senior, 22, of Gilette, Wyoming, and Trysha Brierly, 16, a high school student of Chadron, scrape paint from the side of a shed at the Bill Dowling American Legion Post 12.


Seven people and one jobsite leader renovated a few storage sheds outside of the Bill Dowling American Legion Post 12. Volunteers scraped off paint and painted the previously red-and-white sheds, located a few feet from the American Legion Post’s main building.
Ashley Goad, 19, sophomore of Pueblo, Colorado; Carly Slaght, 20, junior of Scottsbluff; Leah Guerrero, 19, freshman of Greeley, Colorado; Rachel Guerrero, 16, high school student of Greeley, Colorado; Laken Kuenzel, 22, senior of Gillette, Wyoming; Trysha Brierly, 16, of Chadron, the daughter of Education Instructor Robin Brierly, who was also part of the group; and Mikaela Franzen, 19, freshman of Gurley, took on the task.
According to Vicki Kotschwar, the president of the post’s American Legion Auxiliary, the sheds are used to house equipment, such as wheelchairs that the American Legion post rents out. She said she was happy that the buildings were being repainted, since they are visible during the Bands on Bordeaux summer concert events.
Kotschwar says she was the one who filled out the necessary form for their jobsite to become part of The Big Event. Expressing her admiration for The Big Event and how it gives CSC students a way to give back to the local community, she said the other members of the post’s American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary were enthusiastic about hosting a jobsite for The Big Event.
At a different location, two neighbors teamed up to create one jobsite for volunteers.
Community members, Amy Leija and Melody Herbert, took advantage of the beautiful weather Saturday while The Big Event volunteers powered through their yard work on King Street.
“It’s amazing,” Leija said. “Just to know that so much is getting done takes weight off of my shoulders. In a few hours, we’re doing stuff that I’ve wanted to get done for five years.”
A few of the tasks volunteers were asked to do were to get rid of weeds, trim hedges, and stain fences.
Freshman Laura Larsen, 19, of Kearney, described her task as “removing all the dead stuff from the yard.”
The college students were joined by a few non-traditional volunteers, including Physical and Life Science Associate Professor Wendy Jamison and her two daughters.
Fourth grader Hannah Jamison, 10, diligently pulled weeds from Leija’s yard.
“My favorite thing about working The Big Event is the Subway,” Hannah Jamison said.
In another location, long-time Chadron resident Janet Hartman’s yard was abuzz with volunteers. Hartman works in the career and academic planning services department at CSC; this was her first year as a host site for The Big Event.

Students and faculty of the Alumni Club and Sigma Tau Delta Club flushed gutters, mowed, cleaned rock beds, labeled flower gardens, and scraped paint. All this was done in a couple of hours, and Hartman capped off the day by serving everyone fresh brownies and iced tea in the comfort of her homey back yard.
“I live by myself, and I never would have gotten all this done alone,” Hartman said. “The town wouldn’t be the same without the college, it’s good for the economy,” Hartman said. “I like when students are around; brings the town to life.”
It’s these subtle reminders that reiterate the harmonizing effects of The Big Event. Students and faculty can reciprocate care and service to the community, a community that has provided for the college.
Students who volunteered at the Hartman site understand the importance of community connections as well.
“In college it is easy to stay within the bubble of campus, and not realize the campus is part of a larger community,” Jessica Hanks, 20, sophomore of Kimball, said. “The Big Event allows students to see this, and gives them the opportunity to say thank you through service. One, it is awesome to get out and be a part of something bigger than myself. Two, cleaning gutters is not as easy as it looks.”
College and community can bond within service, but students within clubs are also allowed to form more meaningful connections.
“I think it was a great bonding experience for the club because we learned a lot about each other,” Rachel Dowling, 20, junior of Hampton, said. “I love this city so much. The Big Event inspires me to continue to help put smiles on people’s faces when something gets accomplished that they struggled with by themselves.”
The college and community became one among the lilacs in full bloom on Saturday, and the quality of service delivered will hopefully inspire more years of The Big Event. In the meantime, students can prepare for finals with a sense of accomplishment permeating from the past weekend.
Students and faculty of the Alumni Club and Sigma Tau Delta Club flushed gutters, mowed, cleaned rock beds, labeled flower gardens, and scraped paint. All this was done in a couple of hours, and Hartman capped off the day by serving everyone fresh brownies and iced tea in her back yard.
“I live by myself, and I never would have gotten all this done alone,” Hartman said. “The town wouldn’t be the same without the college, it’s good for the economy,” Hartman said. “I like when students are around; brings the town to life.”
It’s these subtle reminders that reiterate the harmonizing effects of The Big Event. Students and faculty can reciprocate care and service to the community.
Students who volunteered at the Hartman site understand the importance of community connections as well.
“In college it is easy to stay within the bubble of campus, and not realize the campus is part of a larger community,” Jessica Hanks, 20, sophomore of Kimball, said. “The Big Event allows students to see this, and gives them the opportunity to say thank you through service. One, it is awesome to get out and be a part of something bigger than myself. Two, cleaning gutters is not as easy as it looks.”
The college and community can bond within service, but students within clubs are also allowed to form more meaningful connections.
“I think it was a great bonding experience for the club because we learned a lot about each other,” Rachel Dowling, 20, junior of Hampton, said. “I love this city so much. The Big Event inspires me to continue to help put smiles on people’s faces when something gets accomplished that they struggled with by themselves.”
The college and community became one among the lilacs in full bloom on Saturday, and the quality of service delivered will hopefully inspire more years of The Big Event. In the meantime, students can prepare for finals with a sense of accomplishment permeating from the past weekend.

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