Faculty and staff “Shack-Up” for charity

Carolyn Schultz

This year Shack-a-Thon is redefining the penny war. The “Shack-Up” fundraiser will feature nine faculty and staff members who have graciously volunteered to spend the night in a shack built by one of the student groups participating in Shack-a-Thon Saturday, May 17, on Main Hall Green.
Shack-a-Thon is an annual fundraiser co-sponsored by the campus chapter for Habitat for Humanity and the VCSC. The purpose of the event is to raise money for Appleton’s Habitat for Humanity affiliate and to raise awareness on hunger and homelessness in America and abroad. Each year, several groups on campus spend a Saturday building shacks out of whatever materials they can find. Shack-a-Thon challenges students to put their creativity and engineering skills to work with meager supplies, such as cardboard, scrap wood, duct tape, and other salvaged and donated materials.
The theme of this year’s Shack-a-Thon is Fairytale LIFE. The goal for the planning committee was to give the rules and basic concept behind the board game LIFE, but with a fairytale twist. Shacks will have fairytale themes, and the events during the day will incorporate favorite fairytales into competitions and entertainment.
An integral part of the event is that students are required to spend the night in their shacks and to face the reality of being temporarily homeless and in need of shelter. This year, judging will incorporate regular policing by committee members to make sure students spend the entire night in their shacks. Groups with empty shacks will have points deducted from their final score. Along with spending the night, scores are also based on competitions staged throughout the day as well as the structure, sturdiness, and appearance of the shack.
For the “Shack-Up” fundraiser, each volunteer will have a collection jar in Downer and at the Union for the week and a half leading up to Shack-a-Thon. The Wednesday before the main event, May 14, the competition will be narrowed down to the top four participants. The faculty or staff member with the most money raised will be announced at the conclusion of construction on Saturday, May 17 and will have the privilege — or horror — of sleeping in the shack of their choosing.
The planning committee has devised a buy out plan for those volunteers unable to spend the night. The volunteer with the most money raised overall will have the option of buying themselves out of the obligation. They can choose to spend the night or pay a percentage of the amount raised in their name by randomly selecting a percentage upto half of the amount donated. This money would then add to the amount raised for the Habitat affiliate.
Participants in the faculty and staff “Shack-Up” war are Dean of Students Nancy Truesdell, lovable Hilda from Downer, Associate Dean of Students for Campus Life Amy Uecke, Dean of Admissions Steve Syverson, Professor Dave Hall, Professor Jeff Clark, and Roman Brusovankin, Laura Zuege, Dawn Schlund, RHDs from Trevor, Hiett and Coleman, respectively.
Professor Hall, affectionately known to his students as Dr. Dave, says that he is excited that students want him to help out. “The last time I slept in a shack, they were refrigerator boxes.I enjoy refrigerator boxes,” said Dr. Hall when asked about his participation. He has been involved in Habitat events before off campus and encourages other younger and new tenure track professors to volunteer for campus events and Habitat for Humanity. He said, “I will sleep out based on the quality of shacks and weather conditions. I’m not that tough.”
“Every year [the organizers of Shack-a-Thon] seem to come up with new ways to involve staff and the Lawrence community,” said Amy Uecke when asked about the penny war. She thinks it is a great cause and is interested in raising a lot of money. She even joked that donating extra change to her jar may “guarantee you a better room.” However, it should be noted that she does not decide regulations for housing; that is left to students on the Resident Life Committee.
Dean Truesdell expressed a commitment to support “anything that helps raise awareness of the issue of homelessness.” She is excited about the “Shack-Up” war and thinks it is a great idea. She was grateful to the committee for making an effort to accommodate volunteer’s needs. “I am recovering from neck and back surgery, so I will be allowed to do a ‘buy-out’ to avoid sleeping on the ground if I am the big loser. Mostly I am planning on loading up the other jars with pennies!”
The Shack-a-Thon committee encourages the Lawrence Community to show support for these brave volunteers and Habitat for Humanity by donating extra change and coming out for the construction and fun on May 17.