An elite group of UNL students stopped in Neligh on Saturday for one simple reason — to give back.
Each year 13 seniors are selected to the University’s Innocents Society based upon academics, leadership and service. Those handpicked leaders spent the weekend in a handful of communities donating their time.
While in Neligh, they helped the Neligh Chamber of Commerce by taking down some of the Christmas decorations at the Antelope County Courthouse.
Conner Kozisek of Ainsworth, philanthropy chair of the Innocents Society, couldn’t stop smiling Saturday as he talked about spending the two days in parts of the state that most of his classmates had never been in.
“The Innocents Society is unique to the state of Nebraska, so we do this to give back to the state as a whole,” Kozisek said. “It helps other members see different parts of the state that they may not have seen before. I’m from Ainsworth but a lot are from Lincoln or Omaha, so it’s important for them to see these different communities and give back.”
Greg Ptacek, Neligh economic development director, said this is the second time Neligh has welcomed the elite group to the community.
“The ﬁrst year they helped clean stained glass windows at the Congregational Church in Neligh, and this year we had them help take down some Christmas decorations,” he said.
Kozisek said the group spent about an hour or so in each community. Although it’s not a lot of time, they’re able to help with projects and experience the area.
“We’re looking for opportunities to give back to the university as well as the communities of Nebraska,” he said.
Ptacek said the University of Nebraska and the City of Neligh have a strong partnership that has allowed the two to work together on many occasions. Th at’s something, he said, that has become a great beneﬁt to both.
“We’re happy to have a great relationship with the University of Nebraska and be able to do some of these projects with the Innocents Society, Engler Agribusiness, and the Rural Futures Institute. Not often a community the size of Neligh has such a great relationship with the University of Nebraska,” he said.