As a spring-break alternative, a group of Washington College students traveled to Columbus, Georgia to volunteer in Habitat for Humanity's Collegiate Challenge Program.
Collegiate Challenge is a year-round alternative break program that offers groups of students the opportunity to visit one of the 250 host affiliates throughout the United States. Students spend one week working in partnership with the local affiliate, the local community, and partner families to help eliminate poverty housing in the area. Washington College has been participating in the program each year since 1999, along with over 700 school chapters nationwide.
Washington College's group of 25 students, faculty, and staff, were part of an assembly of over 150 volunteers from six colleges, universities, and high schools erecting six houses in Columbus in five days during the week of March 8-12. Students embarked on a 14 hour drive, arriving in Georgia on March 7, and leaving on the morning of March 13, feeling a sense of fulfillment and pride.
"We were all very fortunate to be a part of something like this," said volunteer Charles Grigg (Class of '10). "I hope that we can all remember that there are things bigger than we are, and that there are always people in need somewhere."
With the help of carpenters from NeighborWorks Columbus and future home owners Melvin "Pops" and Cynthia Kemp, Washington College built a house at 1039 Benning Drive in Columbus. Despite the large group of different students, coming together and getting the job done was an effortless task.
"My fear embarking on the trip was that students from different interests would separate into various sects and not unite," said Kristina Kelly (Class of '11), co-coordinator of the trip. "I was surprised that immediately we came together over a common cause and became a family."
Volunteer Emily Hordesky (Class of '12) agreed. "Cliques were non-existent and everyone got along. I'm so glad building this house brought me closer to people I barely knew before. [It was] the experience of a lifetime."
Participants were: Bethany Ackerman '12, Anna Baker '12, Sarah Billmyre '11, Brittany Bonday '11, Timothy Danos '10, Mary Fletcher '10, Beverly Frimpong '12, Nicholas Gaeto '12, Charles Grigg '10, Kelsey Hallowell '12, Emily Hordesky '12, Kathryn Hughes '12, Maria Rose Hynson(Office of the Provost and Dean, Staff Advisor), Jacqueline Kelly '12, Kristina Kelley '11, Antonio LoPiano '11, Darnell Parker (Office of Student Affairs), Billie Ricketts '13, Matthew Stiles '11, Steven Stranahan '12, Gabrielle Tarbert '13, Alyssa Velazquez '12, David Wharton (Department of Economics), Amanda Whitaker '12, and Meredith Young '11.
For more information, visit studentlife.washcoll.edu/service/habitatforhumanity.