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Habitat for Humanity Spring Break

Members of Rensselaer ’s student chapter traveled to Virginia to participate in the annual Collegiate Challenge

Several community and service-minded students from Rensselaer spent their spring break swinging hammers, installing drywall, and completing various construction duties at a Habitat for Humanity project in North Carolina.

Thirteen members of the Rensselaer chapter of the Habitat for Humanity International organization participated in Habitat’s annual Collegiate Challenge. The group worked alongside local volunteers, college students from other chapters, and the future homeowners themselves to construct energy-efficient houses in the town of Goldsboro, which is located in eastern North Carolina.

“As the spring break coordinator, it was very rewarding to plan this trip,” said Laura Bateman, a senior majoring in environmental engineering. “It’s a very rustic adventure for everyone, but people always seem to come back from the trip with great memories, especially when we know that our efforts are helping families in need of a home to call their own.”

“The Habitat trip to Goldsboro, North Carolina, was a great experience,” said Kyle Mattson, a senior who is majoring in mechanical engineering. Last year, he served as president for the Rensselaer chapter of Habitat for Humanity; he has been a member of the organization since his freshman year.

“We got to interact with hard-working families in the area and with a group from SUNY Cortland,” Mattson added. “On the last day, it was really exciting to see all of our work accumulate in front of our very eyes. It’s an opportunity to have fun, learn new skills, meet new people, and help someone else.”

Started in 1989, Collegiate Challenge is Habitat for Humanity’s year-round alternative break program that provides opportunities for students from youth groups, high schools, and colleges to spend a week of their school break building homes in partnership with a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the United States. In the 20-year history of the program, more than 166,000 young people have contributed more than $15.5 million and countless hours to Habitat’s mission of providing simple, decent, affordable housing to people who need it.

In addition to participating in the annual Collegiate Challenge, the Rensselaer Habitat for Humanity Chapter continues to support the local community. The group has worked on multiple sites in the city of Troy, and in Rensselaer and Albany counties. They fully sponsored and built a home in the city of Troy. The chapter also built a home on the corner of 11th and Hutton streets in Troy, in partnership with the Rensselaer County Habitat for Humanity chapter, and similar projects are under way. The chapter also made a $10,000 donation to support the project. Beyond building homes, members of the organization also carve out time to support campus and local events.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 7, April 15, 2011
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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