A "winning" performance was turned in by a number of Ferris State University student-athletes at the fourth annual Big Event held this last Saturday (April 9) in the Big Rapids, Mich. community as members of both the women's soccer and men's ice hockey program participated in various city-wide improvement projects.
The Bulldog student-athletes were among a record-setting 1,600 volunteers from Ferris State who gathered at the FSU Campus Quad Saturday morning before dispersing throughout the Big Rapids community to perform more than 200 service projects for local residents within a four-hour time frame. Those who volunteered received their project assignments, tools for the projects and a free "Big Event" T-shirt.
A total of fifteen FSU women's soccer student-athletes along with head coach Matt Kellogg were Big Event participants this year. Comprising the group were Cassie Aro, Kelsey Aubil, Bri Borgman, Sam Boyle, Hillary Braun, Logan DeClercq, Amanda Foster, Rachel McCollum, Courtney Meharg, Audra Merino, Hillary Procunier, Kasey Ruimveld, Mekyla Spraggins, Katie Syring, and Cassie VanderSloot.
"We wanted to show our appreciation," said Kasey Ruimveld, who along with Kelsey Aubil and Cassie VanderSloot, helped remove items from an elderly lady's basement. "Big Rapids is a small town and those in the community have always welcomed the (Ferris State) students. It's really important we give something back and their appreciation really made everything we did gratifying.
"We had a lot of fun and the good weather was nice. I definitely plan on helping out next spring," added Ruimveld.
Kyle Bonis of the Ferris State men's ice hockey team agreed.
"The Big Event is always such a great experience," said Bonis. "Helping give back to this town is something I always look forward to. People in Big Rapids come out and support not only our team, but all the other athletes as well. This is just one way for us to say thank you for that. The Big Event is great and definitely something worthwhile that I always look forward to."
The Big Event, a joined effort between the Big Rapids community and FSU, provides an opportunity for students to say thank you to the community through home improvement or maintenance projects such as washing windows, painting or yard work. The Big Event involved representatives from 130 student organizations, who contributed a total of 7,500 hours of community service.