Freshman chemistry major Victoria Dent cuts siding to help finish the outside.
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Four homes, four families, countless smiles: that’s the sum of the hard work provided by 25 Lycoming College students, staff and an alumnus during the Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge held over spring break from March 5 to 12.
After traveling to Winston-Salem, N.C., the Lycoming group teamed up with the Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County affiliate to lay subflooring and roofing, install vinyl siding, put up patio railing, and clean at four houses.
“The first time I worked on a Habitat for Humanity project was eleven years ago as a sophomore for the college. I realized how lucky I was to always have a safe place to sleep at night,” said Annie DiSante ’06, chemistry laboratory manager at Lycoming who was one of the staff members on this year’s trip. The impact was so great, DiSante has participated in the Collegiate Challenge ever since, three as a student and eight as an advisor.
“These trips help our students realize that substandard housing and homelessness is not something only developing countries struggle with, it’s a problem in the U.S. too. They become excited about helping a family have more than just a place to live — they are building a home for them and their children,” she said.
“Signing up on a whim for my first Habitat for Humanity trip turned out to be one of my best experiences at Lycoming,” said Erin Hale, a senior biology major from Oakfield, N.Y. who participated in the challenge all four years at Lycoming, and who organized the last two as a leadership development opportunity.
“The trip reminded me that a lot of people are struggling with more extreme conditions than a typical college student. The new homeowners are very thankful and the other volunteers, including the construction site leaders and retired people who contribute regularly, have made a big impact on me. These role models have inspired me to continue to give back in the best way that I can,” she said.
Freshman archaeology major Dominic Lyons and advisor Casey Spencer ‘05 saw a board as part of the project.
Alumnus Casey Spencer ’05 joined the group for the trip as did Rev. Jeff LeCrone, Lycoming’s director of spiritual life and community service, who mentors students as they plan the tasks well in advance of the trip.
“One of my favorite elements of the trip is to see the students gel as a group,” LeCrone said. “We go down as individuals, and as the light bulbs come on, students not only realize the value of the work, but the value of being part of a group doing such work. It’s a great experience for them, and for us.”
More photos about the event can be found on Facebook.