While thousands of students across the country spent their Spring Break lounging by the pool or developing a tan, students from the University of Louisville and Columbia University Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapters volunteered their time swinging hammers, spackling wallboard and painting siding.
Last month, the Louisville and Columbia Habitat Campus Chapters were named winners of the Barnes & Noble College #InstaBuild Video Contest. Their winning entries earned each group $5,000 to cover expenses for their Spring Break Collegiate Challenge trips to Lake Sumter, Florida, and Lafayette, Louisiana, respectively.
During their break, University of Louisville students worked under the supervision of the local Habitat for Humanity chapter in Lake Sumter, Florida, working alongside students from Ohio State, University of Wisconsin, and AmeriCorps NCCC members. After an initial first-day trip to the beach, the students began work on a local home in Lake Sumter.
Over the course of four days, the Louisville students nailed siding, painted the exterior of the house and completed finishing work to the flooring. According to student volunteer Bryson Clifford, “It was cool to have the older gentlemen as mentors and take in their perspectives.”
The home will belong to a family of a deceased military veteran, which, according to volunteer Wesley Turner, made the whole experience more meaningful. “Knowing who we are helping inspired [us] to do more and [will inspire] the community to do more,” he said.
The Columbia University Habitat Campus Chapter also headed south, working on a home in Lafayette, Louisiana. After a trip to New Orleans and the French Quarter, the Columbia students partnered with fellow volunteers from Ohio State to begin work on their assigned house under the supervision of the local Lafayette Habitat team. The work included attaching trim, prepping drywall and painting. “Every year, this group never ceases to amaze me,” said Lafayette Habitat Volunteer Services Director Joelle Boudreaux, “and we’re extremely lucky to have been named their Partner Affiliate.”
Habitat for Humanity campus chapters are student-led, student-initiated organizations on high school or college campuses that partner with local Habitat affiliates to fulfill the four functions of a campus chapter: building, fundraising, advocating and educating.
Since 1989, Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge alternative break program has invited students to spend one week working with Habitat affiliates to build homes and improve communities. More than 230,000 college- and high school-aged students have volunteered during their spring break to help build or rehabilitate homes, donating nearly $24 million to Habitat affiliates.
For more information on the Collegiate Challenge program, visit habitat.org.