This year, Lawrence University students have been involved with the Habitat for Humanity program as a way to give back to the less fortunate in the community.Students have begun work on a house with an Appleton family in order to provide them with an affordable living space. This project began October 2 and seems to be progressing smoothly.
Habitat for Humanity is a Christian-based nonprofit organization that was founded in 1976 by Miller and Linda Fuller to provide adequate and affordable housing for lower income families.
Although Habitat for Humanity is a Christian-based organization, participation in the program is not limited. People of any race, religion, or economic background are encouraged to participate in the projects.
Habitat for Humanity works by first having families in need of shelter apply for a housing project at a Habitat affiliate. The houses are then funded by donations of money and building resources and constructed by volunteers.
One of the most fundamental elements of the project though, is having the families themselves participate in the building and funding of their home. This provides a sense of ownership and pride to the family receiving the home.
Students at Lawrence have been helping build a house for a local family comes from the Serbia/Bosnia region and has been helping in the construction of their home alongside Lawrence students.
Lawrence is co-sponsoring the home with JJ Keller & Associates Inc., a large publishing, printing and service organization that is one of the largest employers in the Fox Valley. JJ Keller is kept updated on the project through contacting members on the site and photographs.
As of right now, the project is 14 days complete with seven left to go. Over 175 volunteers from Lawrence have helped out with the project, including staff, students and faculty.
There have been relatively few problems in the building process. According to Kristen Elizabeth, coordinator for the project, there have only been “a few minor cuts and maybe a little mud.”
All sides and the roof of the house are completed. Most of the work being done now is inside the house, like installing cabinets and adding appliances.
Those who have seen the building site have had positive feedback. The Lawrence alumni crewmembers leading the project have said that they have greatly enjoyed working with today’s Lawrence students. They are hoping to have Habitat t-shirts finished before the unveiling to remember the experience.
Now that this home is almost complete, the Lawrence Habitat coordinators are planning a way to regain finances to sponsor another home in the area. The coordinators will be working on finding a way for every class at Lawrence to be able to finance a home their senior year.