By Samantha Holte
This past spring break, nine students were given the opportunity to travel to New York to build for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. Partially funded by BSC, in addition to Habitat for Humanity club funds, the students drove a Beloit College van to New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City. Even after overcoming the adversity of a snowstorm in Pennsylvania, the students made the best of their situation. Beloit joined over 100 students from around the country, from schools such as Wake Forest University, Boston College, Winona State University and Miami University.
The group worked on many projects in the area over the course of four days, including work in the Habitat office and ReStore warehouses. The ReStore warehouse holds many of the building materials involved in building a Habitat house. Beloiters, as well as students from Boston College, worked diligently to reorganize the warehouse for easier access for customers. Other projects included painting public housing, installing insulation and drywall, building shelves, and painting the roof of the Habitat office building.
Jim Killoran, the executive director for the Habitat for Humanity of Westchester County, constantly emphasized the importance of being environmentally friendly and applying “green” ideas not only to the houses that Habitat constructs, but also to the organization itself. Painting the roof white, he said, reflects heat, which would save on cooling costs in the summer. Habitat emphasizes the fact that they use recycled and environmentally friendly materials in their building sites.
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that operates under the conviction that every person should have a decent, safe, and affordable place to live. The organization uses donations of labor, money and materials to construct houses for families. These families pay a down payment and interest-free mortgage payments, as well as putting in “sweat equity,” or their own labor, into helping build the house.
This trip was a great opportunity to create interest in students not previously involved in Habitat. Several students had participated in builds with Community Action, but were never involved in the Habitat meetings or fundraisers. First-year Marian Whitaker says that she plans to become more involved in Habitat as a club, and has since represented Beloit College at a Rock County Habitat board meeting to learn more about the organization. President Elise Wolff said that her experience in New Rochelle during break last year made her want to maintain and grow connections with the chapter there, and that she was excited that the club was able to repeat the experience this year.
The Beloit College chapter of Habitat for Humanity is currently raising money to build a house in the community, collaborating with the Rock County chapter. Although builds through the college chapter cannot occur until sufficient funds are raised, there have been builds throughout the year through Community Action, a local organization with similar goals of affordable housing.
Watch out for notificatiosn about Habitat general assembly meetings, as well as other information about fundraisers.
If you’re interested in becoming involved in a build, watch the stuboards. Builds frequently occur on Saturdays.