Giving thanks and giving back

· 6 min read

Giving thanks and giving back

Eight ways Huskers showed their gratitude this year
Big Event
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Members of the Minority Pre-Health Association paint a shed and clean up a yard during last April’s Big Event.

Thanksgiving is a time of reflection — an opportunity to spend time with family, enjoy delicious food and remember what we’re grateful for.

Huskers showed their gratitude in a variety of ways throughout 2019, from planting trees for future generations to helping those affected by historic March flooding.

Take a look through the list below to learn more about how faculty, staff and students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln gave back to others this year.

1.5 million hours of service

In honor of Nebraska’s 150th year, the Center for Civic Engagement began the Husker Civic Challenge last January. The challenge enlisted students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university to record more than 1.5 million hours of community service in 2019.

Big Event
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Nicole Boreyk shows off her face-paint work to an elementary student at the Campbell Elementary School Carnival. She and other sorority members from Gamma Phi Beta helped with the carnival as part of the Big Event's day of service.

Reading day for MLK

The campus community kicked off its 1.5 million hours of service on Jan. 21, when student, faculty and staff volunteers participated in the Husker Reading Challenge. The event was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and sent volunteers to 26 early childhood centers across Lincoln to read age-appropriate books related to diversity and inclusion.

Craig Chandler | University Communication
Thomas Kerr, a freshman accounting major from Hastings, reads to children at the Foundations Progressive Learning Center during the Husker Reading Challenge.


Huskers continued their ambitious goal by raising more than $200,000 for Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha during HuskerThon. The annual event, held Feb. 16, gathered 500 students for a day of dancing and fundraising in the Nebraska Union.

Read more about one student’s personal connection to HuskerThon.

Justin Mohling | University Communication
HuskerThon volunteers form a tunnel for children to run through on Feb. 16.

The Big Event

More than 2,500 Nebraska students, faculty and staff volunteered for the Big Event on April 6. Now in its 13th year at the university, the day of service sends volunteers across the Lincoln community to clean up neighborhoods, assist with school events, serve food to the elderly and more.

Big Event
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Alyse Dockter loads mulch with other members of Kappa Alpha Theta. The sorority completed yard work at homes south of downtown for this year's Big Event.

Going bald for St. Baldrick’s

Nineteen Huskers went bald on April 11 to support St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancer. The event was held in the Abel-Sandoz Welcome Center.

“The first year I did it, I was so nervous to lose my hair,” said Dalton Carper, who shaved his head in April for the third year in a row. “But seeing my family smile in the crowd, as well as knowing I helped people such as Megan, my specific sponsor for the event, is something I know I should be doing. Stories like that keep me coming back.”

St. Baldrick's
Justin Mohling | University Communication
Nineteen Huskers volunteered to have their heads shaved for childhood cancer research on April 11.

Museum partnership

Last spring, a team of Huskers partnered with the Lincoln Children’s Museum to create a guide for children with autism and other learning disabilities. The guide details each section of the museum, preparing children for settings which may otherwise be uncomfortable or overwhelming.

The project was led by Emily Dorsey, assistant professor of practice in special education and communication disorders, alongside graduate school psychology students Micheale Marcus, Katie Mosher, Rachel Schumacher and the late Alicia Kruger.

LCM Social Story
Kelcey Buck | SECD
Pictured left to right are Rachel Schumacher, Katie Mosher, Emily Dorsey and Micheale Marcus, graduate school psychology students who have created a new social learning tool for the Lincoln Children's Museum.

Flood recovery

When devastating floods hit the state in March, students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln sprung into action.

Katelyn Petersen, a senior animal science major, spent her spring break passing out donations and veterinary goods for flood survivors.

Later in the summer, a University of Nebraska serviceship program allowed students to clean up flood damage and help those affected file for FEMA assistance.

Senior animal science major Katelyn Petersen spent her spring break giving back to flood survivors.

150 trees for 150 years

Students in Associate Professor Kim Todd’s plant identification, plant design and introduction to landscape management classes gathered Oct. 16 and 17 to plant 150 trees on East Campus in honor of the university’s 150th anniversary.

“To have students put their hands on a living thing, put it in the soil and then come back five to 10 years from now with their children and say, ‘I contributed to something that will last beyond me,’ is truly a neat idea,” Todd said. “It becomes a simple way for students to give back to their campus for a very long time.”

N150 Trees
Lindsey Amen | University Communication
Garrett Stone, a senior horticulture major from Sutton, Nebraska, digs into soil near the East Campus commuter lot.

Recent News