Habitat seeks more student volunteers

Katie Alberti

Habitat for Humanity is welcoming any interested students to become members of the organization.

The group started at Kent State in 1994 when students became interested in helping those in need of housing, according to the group’s Web site.

In addition to building houses, Co-President Deidre Jones said the group plans on participating in a variety of activities this semester.

Habitat will host a Halloween party on Oct. 30, for the Portage Area Transitional Housing, Jones said. They also are having their annual sleep out in Risman Plaza on Nov. 1, to kick off Homeless Awareness Month.

The group also will volunteer for Oxfam Hunger Banquet on Nov. 17 and Operation Christmas Child, an activity where students wrap and decorate presents for less fortunate kids around the world.

Co-President Eli Konwest also said she wants to keep members involved by having the group involved in an assortment of activities.

“We want to keep student interest up,” Konwest said. “Student interest (usually) wanes as the year continues, and we want to keep students interested.”

Ashleigh Ress, junior graphic design major, said she has thought about becoming a member of the organization.

“I would join,” Ress said. “It’s a really good cause that can benefit others. People joining get the satisfaction of helping others. If I was in that situation, I would want someone to help my family too.”

Jones said it is not hard to be a student and participate in the group.

“We want to stress that we know that your family and school work come first,” said Jones. “If you can come to the work site for an hour, that’s an hour you were there to help the house get constructed even faster. If you haven’t been to a meeting in a month, that’s OK; don’t beat yourself up about it.”

In case students cannot attend meetings, the group keeps an e-mail list of all members so they can be informed about upcoming plans.

In addition, since students may not have an accessible car, Jones said the organization will be doing all it can to transport students to work sites.

Habitat hopes the house they work on this year will be close to a PARTA bus route, Jones said. If not, there is always carpooling.

While participating in building houses, students are not required to have any construction skills.

“Many people come in with no experience,” Jones said. “The only things you need are clothing you don’t mind getting dirty and the desire to want to help out.”

Installing insulation, using power tools and ripping down walls are a few of the activities students are able to do at the work sites.

Jones said she became a member of the organization because she wanted to help those less fortunate than herself.

“I strongly believe that everyone should have a place to call home,” Jones said. “I hate taking the subway and walking around Manhattan and seeing people in the stations sleeping because he or she has nowhere to go. I feel that by contributing, this is one less family that has to worry about a place to sleep at night.”

Jones also said students should become members of Habitat for Humanity for a variety of reasons.

“Students should get involved with an organization, period,” Jones said. “But as for Habitat, you get to give someone a home, learn new skills that you thought you might never learn and meet people who have been a part of the organization for years.”

Students interested in Habitat for Humanity are welcome to attend a weekly meeting held at 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays in room 319 in the Student Center.

Contact social services reporter Katie Alberti at [email protected].