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Spring-breakers join Habitat for Humanity cause
Some students basked in the Florida sun for their spring break, others relaxed at home, and some students built houses for those in need.
A group of 18 students went to Russell County, Ala., and another group of 11 students went to Battle Creek, Mich., with a mission to build homes with Habitat for Humanity.
Quinnipiac students joined a group of 100 volunteers from Mount Ida College, Endicott College, Syracuse University, and a Canadian church group in Alabama roofing, shingling and insulating homes.
Habitat for Humanity is an international group that helps individuals reach the American dream, according to Vince Contrucci, director of community service and chaperone for the Michigan trip.
“Houses provide pride and ownership,” he said. “It releases individuals from the prisons of rent.”
Tory Saba, a junior who who attended the Alabama trip, reflected on the things that Americans often forget to be thankful for.
“Sometimes people in our country take for granted that they have a roof over their heads,” she said. “I feel that I have been blessed in so many ways in my life and my way of saying thanks is by helping others who cannot necessarily help themselves.”
From 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., students built homes as a part of the Alternate Break, a division of the Collegiate Challenge which seeks to get college students involved with Habitat for Humanity.
In the past, students have gone to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and North Carolina. This year, Quinnipiac’s Habitat for Humanity group wanted to provide more opportunities for students to work with the affiliates by splitting up into two locations.
“Last year I had an amazing time, but I have noticed that with each year, the new trip is a clean slate,” said Chloe St. Rose, a junior who attended the Alabama trip. “Nothing we did this year in Alabama was anything like what we did in Pittsburgh.”
While the students were there, they had a chance to meet some of those who would occupy the homes under construction. Some were even working beside them, putting in their “sweat equity hours” – a way the program allows for the homeowners to compensate for the work being done.
“For students, it is a wonderful reward to see who is going to be kept warm under the roof that they are building,” said Lila Carney, assistant director for student media and chaperone for the Alabama trip.
For Jenmifer Walts, graduate assistant for the Office of Community Service and chaperone for the Alabama trip, it was the most realistic part of the week.
In Michigan, students had a chance to meet a family with three children living in the same bedroom. They will now each have a separate bedroom.
“I learned that providing service to others is not about the impact you can make on other people, but about the impact the people you’re serving for, or with, can leave on you,” said Ryan Lamb, a junior who attended the Michigan trip.
Despite the 23-hour drive to Alabama, students maintained nonstop, full energy and excitement, Carney said.
“There were no complaints throughout the entire course of the trip,” Contrucci said of the Michigan delegation. “It was an extremely positive atmosphere.”
Students got out of their comfort zones and experienced new places and people.
“The trip was an opportunity for me to try something new,” said Emily Zwart, a freshman who attended the Michigan trip. “Yes, I spent my spring break getting covered in drywall dust and soot from a burnt-out garage cleanup instead of relaxing in the sun all week, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”