Students promote ASB, Shack-a-Thon

By on April 2, 2008

When many QU students were soaking up the sun on the beach during spring break, another group of students was soaking it up on top of a roof in Chatham County in North Carolina.

This group of 18 students and two resident hall directors were among more than 150 college students from across the country who chose to put down books and pick up hammers at a time when multitudes of undergrads opt to relax the week away.

The alternative spring break (ASB) was a part of Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge, which is an opportunity for high school and college students to “use vacations to serve a community by volunteering to build homes,” according to the Chatham Habitat website.

The Quinnipiac group was selected out of more than 50 applicants for the trip. RHDs Greg Madrid and Tiffany Gray had to narrow it down to a group of 18 individuals.

“We conducted 51 interviews and…looked for the group that would best represent Quinnipiac,” Madrid explained. “We were looking for motivation, ability to handle stress, ability to work in a group and willingness to work hard.”

Group members found common ground during the trip.

“I thought it was cool that it was a group of people that didn’t know each other in the beginning but all got to know each other and work together,” junior Kaitlin Rotella said.

Madrid agreed.

“The uniqueness of an ASB trip is in the people you go with,” he said. “You will always do hard work on the trip, but you then make life-long friends in a week’s time.”

Freshman Julia Bowler, who transferred to QU this semester, felt a similar impact.

“ASB was an amazing experience,” she said. “As a new student this was a great way to meet people and get involved on campus.”

In order to generate awareness of not only ASB trips but also homelessness in New Haven, Habitat for Humanity will be holding its annual Shack-a-Thon on Wednesday April 9. The event will take place in the quad behind Alumni Hall from 5 p.m. until 6 a.m.

“Student Groups or individuals will be asked to build small shelters with cardboard boxes and stay in them overnight,” Madrid said. “The point is to show there are people even in New Haven living on the streets with nothing but cardboard as their shelter.”

The event has given students a new perspective in the past. Junior Tiffany Onorato, who also went on the ASB trip, said: “The reality for me was that I was able to go back to my room in the middle of the night because I was so cold, but I kept thinking about people who were really homeless and couldn’t go back to warmth,” she said.

Despite the seriousness of the cause, students still are able to have fun. “We had an amazing time on our trip and learned so much so we hope to share what we learned in an educational way at Shack-a-Thon,” Onorato said.


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