Ferris State students spruce up Big Rapids during The Big Event

BIG RAPIDS — Not long after purchasing their home in Big Rapids six years ago, Bob Cervantes and his wife returned from a trip to find their yard cleaned.

A little surprised, Cervantes checked around and found out a group of Ferris State University students had raked leaves and picked up sticks as part of The Big Event, which took place Saturday.

Since then, Cervantes said he is always anxious to welcome Ferris students back for the annual event, which is designed to be a day of service for the students to give back to the Big Rapids community.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s awesome the students perform this type of community service for the city.”

Members of the cheer team were busy raking leaves and clearing sticks from Cervantes’ front yard.

“I really appreciate what they do for me,” said the retired Grand Rapids police officer. “They get a good start on the yard and all I have to do is the upkeep until snow falls again.”

During The Big Event, students will take care of a wide variety of spring cleaning jobs — everything from spreading mulch to washing windows to cleaning gutters. Pretty much the only limit is anything involving power tools or roof repairs, due to the possible liability issues.

A few houses away, Ashley Schafer, of Mount Pleasant, and her fellow Alpha Zeta members, were busy raking the yard of another homeowner.

Having to wake up early and battle the wind wasn’t a bad thing for her or the others.

“I just wanted to come out and help the community,” she said.

Shafer had wanted to participate in last year’s event, but a late-winter storm had canceled it.

On the first of three houses to work at on Saturday, Schafer said she and the others were happy to give back to the community.

A couple blocks away, Catie Schmidt, of Oxford, and members of Ferris’ American Marketing Association were busy raking and clearing leaves and debris left from winter away from flower beds.

“I wanted to give back to the community and participate,” she said. “Giving back is something very important to do, and it gives me and others going to Ferris a sense of community here in Big Rapids.”

In all, nearly 1,000 students were set to take to the greater Big Rapids community Saturday afternoon, helping around 200 homeowners with various projects. Each student who signed received a T-shirt and lunch, which were donated from area businesses.

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Posted by Brandon Fountain

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