Building with Habitat

By: 
Liz Hills
Class of: 
2016

The student body at St. Lawrence University is unique in the sense that so many of us enjoy volunteering our time to give back to the local community. On campus, there are many ways to get involved with volunteering such as taking a course with a Community-Based Learning component (CBL), becoming a member of Alpha Phi Omega, our community service based fraternity, or joining the largest community service club on campus, Habitat for Humanity.

As a freshman, I was looking for ways to get involved on campus while simultaneously making a difference in the local community. Having done a week-long service trip to New Orleans in high school, I immediately signed up for the SLU Habitat for Humanity club, affectionately shortened to “Habi." This club works with the St. Lawrence County Habitat for Humanity affiliate so we are really connected to the main organization.

 I moved into the Habitat for Humanity theme house as a sophomore and joined seven other amazing young men and women who are incredibly dedicated and hardworking. Our house acts as the backbone of the club as most of the leadership positions are held by house members. Throughout the year, we all take turns leading trips to our current build or other volunteer events.

Over the course of the year, Habi provides students with several opportunities to either fundraise for the club or directly volunteer with the organization. Here are a few of my favorite events!

  • Cardboard House on the Quad: Every fall, Habitat constructs (or attempts to!) a house made completely out of a cardboard in the middle of our main quad. On the exterior of the house we write facts about poverty in America. As the first big event Habitat puts on every year, this allows us to get to know the new club members while raising awareness of the need for more shelters. After the cardboard shelter is built, the eight members of the themed house and a few club members all spend the night sleeping in our makeshift house. Two years ago the roof collapsed in the middle of the night! Fortunately, this past fall we improved our building skills and our house made it through the entire night.
     
  • Build in Norwood: Currently, we have an actual house we are helping to build in Norwood, New York, about 25 minutes from campus. We send a group of SLU students almost every weekend to work alongside other members of the community on the house. They even provide lunch for us which generally consists of fruits, veggies, a hearty soup and an assortment of sandwiches. The heat was just installed in the house which makes building on these cold, early spring days much more comfortable.
     
  • Habitat Spring Break Trip: Every March, a group of about 15 students opt to forgo beach lounging or skiing in the Rockies to spend a week building a house for a family in need. This year, the team traveled to Goldsboro, North Carolina and worked alongside two other universities on a build site. The 14-hour drive down south was well worth it to escape the cold weather in the North Country. In the past, our club has also lead trips to South Carolina and Georgia.