By Karina Rajtar
Spring break is coming up, and while many Saint Mary’s University students are planning exotic vacations or anticipating a quiet week at home, thirteen students are preparing to help others.
Members of the Saint Mary’s University campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity will travel to Abilene, Texas, to participate in a weeklong Collegiate Challenge, a program sponsored by Habitat for Humanity International that allows high school and college students to travel to other parts of the country during school breaks to help build houses. The program aims at getting youth involved in eliminating substandard housing while allowing them to experience a new community with new people.
The thirteen students and one staff advisor will likely work on a number of different tasks, which may include tiling, painting, putting in appliances, putting up siding and installing insulation. They will also have a chance to learn more about problems with poverty and affordable housing while also getting to know people they might not otherwise get a chance to talk to.
Junior Bethany Kaufmann went on last year’s trip to Greensboro, Ala., and said she would do it again “in a heartbeat” if she had the time to. She still spends time with some of the people she first got to know on the trip and is glad she had the opportunity to go. “I don’t think there’s anyone on the trip that could say they had a bad time,” Kaufmann said.
The group will drive about 20 hours and spend a day sightseeing before beginning work, and they will be back in time for Easter weekend.