Campus News Editor
It is said that humans need three essential things in order to survive: food, water and shelter.
Since 1976, the non-profit organization Habitat For Humanity has been providing shelters to those in need. Spread throughout the world, Habitat for Humanity helps thousands of families achieve their goal of having a house of their own, each and every year.
Over spring break and with the help of Springfield’s sector of Habitat for Humanity, 20 Springfield College students were able to assist a family in building their home.
“We were in charge of putting on siding, working on the roof and even helping to build the porch,” said Jen Kapinos, a senior and four-year Habitat veteran on campus.
Kapinos and crew, the last group in the “Collegiate Challenge” (an alternative spring break trip that Habitat puts on for collegiate students across the country), not only constructed new houses, but also demolished old ones.
“We completely ripped down every wall on the inside of two houses,” stated Christina Cetti, a graduate student at Springfield College. “It’s not like you see on TV where they throw a sledgehammer into the wall.
“These houses were so old they had paneling underneath the sheet rock because there was no insulation. We had to use all our muscles to rip down those walls.”
Much like the volunteers that help build their houses, families that apply for Habitat homes must go through sweat equity.” “Sweat equity” is simple. Each family that is approved for a Habitat home must work between 300 and 500 hours, either on their house or someone else’s.
Through the work and effort put into building their own house, families are able to take away home-repairing skills that many home owners pay people to do for them.
“I may never build my own house, but it is really cool the types of trades we pick up from these experiences,” commented Cetti, who has been a part of Habitat for Humanity for three years. “A home is not what you leave behind, it’s what you take with you.”
Habitat for Humanity is not just a spring break trip, however. With over hundreds of affiliates per state, volunteers are welcome all year round. Whether traveling is your thing or helping your local community, there is always a need for volunteers at any site.
Building houses and learning new trades and skills is an outcome of what Habitat does, and making a difference for a family or a community is what Springfield College students pride themselves in.
“There are so many opportunities through Habitat,” said Kapinos. “Whether you want to help fundraise, advocate, build for a day or even a week, it all depends on what sparks your interest and how you think you can help.”
With sites all around the country and even the world, Habitat for Humanity touches the lives of so many and makes a difference each and every day.