More than 50 Northern State University students and employees gave back to the Aberdeen community on Sunday, Oct. 14, in support of NSU’s fifth annual Pack Gives Back event.
Following a speech from NSU President Dr. Tim Downs on the importance of community leadership and involvement, students volunteered at different nonprofit sites in the community.
Businesses/organizations visited included Aberdeen Community Theatre, Aberdeen Family YMCA, Boys and Girls Club of Aberdeen Area and the Aberdeen Senior Center. Students and staff were able to assist the organizations with a variety of chores and tasks.
NSU student Parker Fox said he chose to participate in the Pack Gives Back event because of how much support Northern gets from the community.
“This event gave us the ability to go out and give pack to local businesses that give us so much,” Fox said. “It brought me together with people I probably would never have met and I had a blast doing it.”
This year the event was more student-led, as students did a bulk of the organization. Student Hazel Ohm was a key planner.
“I participated in the fifth annual Pack Gives Back because as a student-athlete, I see firsthand how much the community of Aberdeen cares about us,” Ohm said. “Doing this was a small act to show how much we, NSU, care about them, the community. I was so excited to see everyone who came out and helped; also, how our PE class worked together to make this such a successful event. Can't wait to see it grow in the future!”
Students were reminded of the importance of making volunteering a life-long habit, and that resonated well with Madeline Kovach.
"I chose to participate in Pack Gives Back for a lot of reasons,” Kovach said. “I have lived in a lot of college towns in my lifetime, but there’s really nothing like Aberdeen and their support of NSU. We all rely on our community to keep us funded, our students employed, and even our mouths fed (especially when it’s pizza). Giving back to the people that give us the support we need to thrive seemed like a no-brainer to me. Volunteering with my peers, who also see the value of our community, really made me realize that Northern is more than just a university; it’s a family and a place to call home.”
That sense of belonging and connection is what makes Northern so great, said NSU Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Megan Frewaldt.
“That was my experience as a student here, and upon returning as a staff member, I have been so joyed that the same remains true years later,” Frewaldt said. “The Pack Gives Back highlights that Northern students are servant leaders – humble, empathetic and active in building the world they envision. It was such a great event for our students, staff, faculty and President Downs to serve alongside one another to support the amazing organizations in our community. Everyone really embodied the Northern spirit.”
Following the event, students and staff who participated were invited to a free VIP tailgate at the new soccer field, and where all involved were encouraged to attend the NSU Wolves soccer game and compete in a bags tournament.