March 15, 2013

Collegiate Challenge draws out-of-state students

Valdosta Habitat builds home with spring breakers

March 15, 2013 Jason Schaefer The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — College students from North Carolina and New York spent their Spring Break in Valdosta this week to take part in the Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge to build a new house for a resident in need.

Two groups of students, one from Cazenovia College in Cazenovia, NY, and the other from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., worked through the week to make headway on a new Habitat house on Troup Street.

The students had a fun time, according to those who spoke up, and said it was a great way to spend their break.

“Spring Break was coming up, and I just wanted to do it,” Rachel Brown, a student from East Carolina said. “It’s something I always wanted to do.”

Hetal Patel said the experience has been “more rewarding” than her typical break.

“It’s better than sitting around and eating,” Patel said.

Habitat Volunteer Coordinator Donnie Radney was impressed with the students’ efforts. They put in good work, remain energetic, and ask for work to do, he said.

“They seem a little more excited than the typical group of volunteers,”

 Radney said. “They’re not just standing around waiting; they’re here to do stuff.”

The group on Thursday comprised 22 girls and a handful of boys. Their meals through the week were served by Saint Johns Church in Valdosta, and the students were boarded by Christ Episcopal Church Valdosta, Radney said.

Construction on the house began March 2, with students from Davidson College in Davidson, N.C. working during the first week of the month. As part of the experience, the students created their own version of the Harlem Shake videos currently trending on YouTube. This week’s group made a video as well.

The next step for the house, which is being built for Valdosta resident Kizzie Brown and her three children, will be the installation of heating and air conditioning, electrical and plumbing, which will be installed through local contractors.

“I am so grateful, so thankful,” Brown said. “They’re all doing this during their Spring Break when they could have been at the beach.”

Brown, who Radney said has been working hard to put in her sweat equity as well, plans to move in around the middle of April, she said.

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