By Allison Kennedy
Posted on Monday, March 7, 2011
While a lot of college students are catching rays at the beach this week, about 170 from six U.S. schools will help construct six houses for Columbus Area Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge. It’s today through Friday.
An additional 45 students from two schools will come next week, the same week Russell County has its Habitat collegiate build.
“I think we’re going to make a significant change—what a difference this can make in the neighborhood,” said Columbus Habitat director Brinkley Pound, who will experience her first Collegiate Challenge. She was hired earlier this year.
“The cooperation has been unbelievable.”
The local affiliate’s first female director, she’s been given a pink hard hat.
Students are coming from Ashland University in Ohio; the University of Pittsburgh; Illinois State University; Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.; The Ethel Walker School, a boarding school for girls in Simsbury, Conn.; and Columbus State University.
The following week, students from Washington College in Chestertown, Md., and Ithaca College in New York will be in town. They’ll help build one house, as well as finish work on the other six. NeighborWorks is a partner with Habitat the second week.
The six sites for next week’s build are all on Bragg Smith Street, off Cusseta Road.
While here, the students will stay in local schools and churches. Highlights of the week include a Shrove Tuesday, on Fat Tuesday, dinner at Trinity Episcopal Church; a dinner and talent show Thursday at St. Luke United Methodist Church; and today, right before lunch, runner Ed Roshitsh will speak to the group. He’s running across the country.
The build closes out with a lunch cookout Friday with members of the local board hosting.
University of Pittsburgh sophomore Sascha Steinberg is making her second trip here. She’s the group leader of her 25-member crew. Their 14-hour drive started Saturday.
“We love the atmosphere and we like working with the construction (crews),” Steinberg said.
This year marks the 18th Collegiate Challenge in Columbus. Pound emphasized “servant leadership” as the main reason students give of their time year after year.
“You give without an expectation of return,” she said. “It’s the pure definition of what they’re doing.”
Habitat does not charge interest for its home mortgages. Qualified homeowners contribute 500 “sweat equity” hours of which they help on the various sites. Many future homeowners will be on the builds this week and next. It costs about $65,000 to build each house, Pound said.
Both Pound and Lamar Powers, a former board member at Russell County Habitat, said donations are still needed for their respective projects.
“With the economy still bad, it’s been very tough,” Powers said. Four Habitat houses will go up in Russell County, in Sandfort Hills.
Allison Kennedy, 706-576-6237
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