Spring Break Report: A look back at Habitat Texas
By Kelsey Hoff
Many college students across the United States look forward to vacations, partying, and relaxation during spring break. However, a group from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside got excited about eight-and-a-half hour work days on a house in Bryan/College Station, Texas, during the Collegiate Challenge Spring Break.
The UW-Parkside Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter made it possible, and funding for the trip came from the students, UW-Parkside's Black Student Union, and the Student Organizations Council. Their advisor Chris Zanowski accompanied them on the trip. The students who worked are Jasmine Anderson, Gloria Castaneda, Shakee'us Graves, Sarah Greiner, Darryl Griffin, Brittney Handley, Jacqueline Wah, Jenika Williams, Antonio Yeats, and Robert Bhatia.
A complete photographic diary of this trip is available online.
Students worked alongside the future homeowners each day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. doing new home construction--everything from framing to roofing, to painting; learning the skills from a construction site manager. Many of the volunteers they worked with were retired faculty members from Texas A&M University.
Students ate lunches provided by the Bryan/College Station Habitat affiliate and stayed at a local church. In their free time, students toured the A&M campus, visited the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, and the city of Bryan. Students also played a lot of basketball in the church where they stayed.
"I made friends with people I never saw myself talking to. I nailed, lifted, carried heavy wood. [I] faced my fear of heights and connected with a family," said UW-Parkside student Jackie Wah. "When we were working on Tango's home, a lot of people passing by in their cars or walking wanted to help...that taught me that people do care."
"We finished the house frame and parts of the roof. The family was excited and happy. So, yes, I had the feeling we accomplished a lot during just one week. Teamwork makes this possible; I learned more about people's behavior and how to combine it in efficient team work," said Sarah Greiner.
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing from the world. The Collegiate Challenge is a year-round alternative break program. Volunteers work with Habitat and the community to build houses in partnership with low-income families in need of a simple, decent, and affordable home.
"It was great to work alongside the students to help them accomplish their goals at contributing to the elimination of substandard housing. They all worked very hard at making decent shelter a matter of consciousness and action! To be a part of this experience was very meaningful for everyone involved," said Student Support Service Director Chris Zanowski. He added, "Thanks to the UW-Parkside community for their support."
In the photo, the UW-Parkside Habitat for Humanity crew is, front row, from left, Jenika Williams, Jackie Wah, Jasmine Anderson, and Antonio Yeats; standing from left, Michelle Castaneda, Chris Zanowski, Jean-Pierre Marc Francois, Robert Bhatia, Sarah Greiner, Brit Handley, and Shakee'us Graves.