Rainy, cold weather in 2018 and the absence of Ferris State University students on the Big Rapids campus in 2020 have limited opportunities to offer The BIG Event, a student-run community service project in recent years. Saturday, April 17, members of the Student Government and the Dean of Student Life Office are excited to re-establish this event’s tradition and mission.
Associate Dean of Student Life and Director of Student Conduct Nick Campau said as the planning for this year’s event began, participant safety was the primary focus, which brought on considerable operational changes.
“We no longer will invite all participants to Top Taggart Field for a kick-off program,” Campau said. “There will now be a staggered drive-through equipment and assignment pick up designed to ensure a smooth, speedy and socially distant critical point for this program.”
Allyson Faulkner, a senior from Rockford graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, is Student Government president. She noted the challenge of limited opportunities to serve the greater Big Rapids community in recent years due to uncontrollable circumstances. As The BIG Event is re-established, Faulkner said organizers have chosen to scale it back.
“We have more than 150 students signed up to participate at this point, and they join that group on Bulldog Connect,” Faulkner said. “Additional volunteers will be accepted through Wednesday, April 14. Social media promotion has served us very well, but as we resume offering The BIG Event, it was determined that assistance could only be offered to residents in the city of Big Rapids this year.”
Faulkner added that the elements previously established to rally the event participants and reward them for service must await different conditions to optimize those volunteers’ health and safety.
“Our Top Taggart Field ceremonies and speeches, along with a group ‘Thank you’ lunch will be replaced by drive-through equipment handling and gifts for each of our participants,” Faulkner said. “We are very glad to be bringing The BIG Event together, but expect our participants to understand and follow the protocols established for this year’s event.”
Campau said the Dean of Student Life Office believes SGA and the registered student organization members and other volunteers will positively impact by turning out on April 17.
“Our volunteers will be wearing masks for the safety of themselves and others and serving the residents on-site with work on outdoor projects,” Campau said. “We hope, as always, for good weather (projected forecasts call for cloudy skies, with a high near 55 degrees that day) and an enriching experience as these students give of themselves, to benefit those who live near our Big Rapids campus.”