Big Red’s Blitz hits 10-year milestone

Glasgow freshman Brianna Buford plays with Yahoo, a home-seeking dog at the Bowling Green Warren County Humane Society as part of Big Red’s Blitz. Students participating in MASTER Plan complete service projects across the community during Big Red’s Blitz. Bria Granville/HERALD

Aaron Mudd

Hundreds of student volunteers boarded buses Thursday to participate in WKU’s Big Red’s Blitz—a community service effort where MASTER Plan participants assist local nonprofits. The 10-year-old event sent 324 students to 34 project sites this year.

Mt. Washington freshman Elizabeth Meredith worked with refugees and organized clothes and items for the International Center of Kentucky. The center offers clothing and toiletries to refugees resettling in Bowling Green.

“You get to see the struggles that refugees go through,” Meredith said. “You get to see how they interact with each other and some of their customs.”

Meredith said she would like to volunteer at the center in the future and possibly student teach since she’s choosing education as her career.

The day of volunteering began at 9 a.m. Thursday when students gathered at Centennial Mall to sign up at several tables featuring organizations and programs such as the American Cancer Society and WKU Child Care.

Lebanon, Ky. freshman Brianna Reynolds said she thought the event would be fun.

“It’d be a good way to get to know people and help out,” Reynolds said, adding that she hoped she could help someone during the day.

While students waited to be dismissed, Big Red took pictures with participants and led the crowd in a dance.

ALIVE Center Director Leah Ashwill also spoke to students and encouraged them to get involved with the community.

“I encourage you all to use today as an opportunity to sort of get a taste of the community outside of WKU and get to know Bowling Green,” Ashwill said.

When the time came for students to start their day of service, students lined up and collected a bag lunch and two bottles of water, then groups left when they were called. 

As the day of service wrapped up around 2:30 p.m., students returned to campus and reflected on their day at Downing Student Union. Lauren Cunningham, community engagement coordinator for the ALIVE Center, helped students think about the importance of community service by handing out reflection cards.

“Because sometimes you don’t know what you’ve done until you sit back and think about what you did, right?” she said. “And so that piece right there is called reflection. That piece right there separates you going and doing just run-of-the-mill community service—which is very, very important—but you taking that and connecting it to a personal experience and connecting it to maybe something you’ve learned.”