By Cait Kemp
Springfield College is all about service to others, and they encourage that sentiment to all students from the moment they step on campus. There are unlimited opportunities to get involved in the community to volunteer, and provide enthusiasm and excitement to help share skills with people who need it.
The Habitat for Humanity club is a perfect example of this. Students are given the chance to work directly with the Greater Springfield branch of Habitat for Humanity to get into local towns and help to build the houses for the program.
According to their official website, Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps homeowners to create a sustainable lifestyle, encouraging them to work alongside volunteers to build affordable housing for them. There are Habitat for Humanity organizations in all 50 states as well as 70 countries around the world.
The organization was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. They developed the idea of partnership housing, which became the basic function of Habitat for Humanity. As mentioned before, people looking to get a house must participate in the building of the house to create a community of volunteerism, hard work, and pride for these people and the towns they live in.
President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter had a lot of involvement in Habitat for Humanity during their years in the White House, which brought much popularity and notoriety to the organization. The organization has now helped over 35 million people to build a sustainable life while teaching the important quality of hard work to earn what one has in life.
The Habitat for Humanity club participated in what they call a “Day Build” this past Saturday. Through the Greater Springfield chapter they were able to volunteer their time at a local build and help to put siding on a house in Springfield.
Club President senior Nikki Bindell has been a part of the club since her freshman year when she capitalized on the opportunity that was in front of her.
“I’ve wanted to be a part of Habitat for a long time, even throughout high school but I never inquired about it really,” said Bindell. Once she saw the table for it at the club fair her freshman year at Springfield, she knew it was her chance to finally get involved.
“I did a few Day Builds freshman year, and then I did the spring break trip which really cemented it into importance to me,” said Bindell. “We went to Monroe, North Carolina…we worked with the group down there, there was 12 of us and we basically just shingled a roof which was pretty cool.”
Bindell organizes and plans the volunteer events with John O’Farrell, the head of the chapter in Springfield. O’Farrell is a Springfield College alumnus, and took the values of serving others into his life even after leaving Alden Street.
Like O’Farrell, Bindell plans to continue this work after graduation. She is a sports biology major, but plans on entering into a year of AmeriCorps through Habitat for Humanity.
“I’ve worked with my hands ever since I was a kid, my great-grandfather was very hands-on so I get it from him,” said Bindell. “I just loved the ideas of building things and helping people, so [Habitat for Humanity] just combined the two things that I most loved doing.”
The club is run by Bindell as President along with Vice President Kaylie Langer, Secretary Gillian Dube, and Treasurer Nadia Ghareeb. Along with these officers there are about 25 members who get involved with the Day Builds and group bonding activities that the club hosts.
Bindell is planning to organize more Day Builds in the future, and wants to get more people involved, such as the sports teams on campus.
Joining the Habitat for Humanity club is the perfect way to use the skills learned at Springfield College and take action in the community to truly make a difference in the world. That is what service is all about.
Photo Courtesy Nikki Bindell