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Habitat for Humanity Establishes Chapter on Campus

For The Heights

Published: Sunday, November 20, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01


Boston College's Habitat for Humanity chapter, which is new to campus this year and welcoming new members, is dedicated to building homes for families in Boston and has no application to become involved.

With a mission to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness worldwide, Habitat for Humanity invites people to build houses together in partnership with families in need. BC's chapter extends this invitation to students who desire to serve the Boston area through volunteer labor to rehabilitate simple houses alongside homeowner families.

"If you want to help out, we want you," said Greg Ficcaglia, vice president and A&S '13. "The families are so excited to have us here, and we're excited to help them too."

BC's Habitat chapter seeks to raise funds so that volunteers can begin refurbishing Boston homes during the spring semester.

"We have so many members eager to get building," said Rachel Rudder, treasurer and CSON '14. "But first we must donate money for materials for the build sites. Fundraising and awareness on campus are our top goals right now so we can move forward."

The club is selling Habitat T-shirts for $10 and bumper stickers for $1, which can be purchased by e-mailing the club at bostoncollegehfh@gmail.com.

But fundraising is not the only task on the club's ambitious new agenda.

"We want the help of as many BC students as possible for builds next semester," said Sean Cahill, secretary and A&S '13. "We're all-inclusive. Since there's no application to join Habitat, you won't get rejected!"

"Boston University has an amazing chapter ... we aspire to be as good as theirs, and better," Ficcaglia said.

Though similar to service groups like Appalachia Volunteers, Habitat sells houses to partner families at no profit, and finances by means of affordable loans. Homeowners submit a down-payment and monthly mortgage payments, and must invest hours of "sweat equity" of their own labor into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.

"It is a partnership," Cahill said, "so we're not just giving away houses. We really respect the people as individual families. They are all deserving and in need."

Encouraged by Campus Ministry to establish a BC chapter of Habitat, the chapter's founders hope that aside from having positive experiences while volunteering, other students may build strong relationships with each other as well.

"One year, we built a house on Valentine's Day, and the family cooked a feast for all of us because they were so grateful," she said. "It was an unbelievable bonding experience both with the other volunteers and the family, who was helping us reconstruct their own house."

"It's a great, personal way of giving back," Ficcaglia said. "There are so many people who struggle with different problems in the city, but everyone deserves a good-quality home."

The club also encourages students to become involved with any of its five committees: communications, building, education, advocacy, and fundraising.

Since many clubs on campus employ a selective application process, Habitat emphasizes its openness to anybody wanting to serve their local community and schedule meetings accordingly.

Conscious of other club meeting times, Habitat meets twice a month on Sunday nights in McGuinn 121. The next meeting date is yet to be determined.

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