TWU students spring into action for Habitat for Humanity challenge

Langley, B.C.—Though spring break is well known for student mischief, this year a group of Langley students will make memories of a different kind. Sixty-five Trinity Western University students will participate in Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge projects in Oregon, Wyoming, California, and Hawaii.

“Being able to just help others is a privilege and the fact that I am not just building a
house, but contributing to develop a community is so rewarding,” says Heidi Hilton a 4th
year history major, who has participated in these projects for the last three years.

In the Collegiate Challenge, university students collaborate with Habitat for Humanity International, a non-profit, non-denominational Christian housing organization. Volunteers assist in the construction of homes for low-income families, usually alongside the future homeowners. The combined efforts reduce the cost of building the homes, and helps raise awareness of poverty housing.

“The project at TWU began because of Stephanie Gerbrandt, a senior whose passion for the project caught my attention,” reflects Greg Ouellette, coordinator of Global Projects at TWU. Ouellette has facilitated the opportunity for TWU students to be apart of Habitat for the last five years. “It started with one team of ten people, and now has grown to six teams.”

According to Ouellette, it is crucial for TWU students to be a part of these kinds of projects. “When you partner with organizations like Habitat for Humanity you are not just constructing houses…you are building community! Our teams serve alongside future homeowners, site supervisors and neighborhood volunteers. When you roll up your sleeves and serve alongside these people, you learn to appreciate them…and usually you walk away changed.”

Ruth Unaegbu, a member of the women’s volleyball team that participated in the Habitat project in the fall, reflects on her experience. “On the third day, we picked up garbage around five of the houses. We framed a shed, did dry walling, and even some videotaping. We asked people who were building the homes about their work, and learned amazing stories of people whose lives had been transformed since they started volunteering.”

Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit, nondenominational Christian housing organization. Since it began in 1976, it has provided over 125,000 houses in more than 80 countries, including 45,000 houses across the United States. Homeowners and volunteers work side by side for a finished product that is financially sponsored by volunteers and groups who want to support the organizations efforts.

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,200 students this year. With a broad based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 38 major areas of study ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 other graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

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Last Updated: 2015-07-13
Author: Keela Keeping