Habitat for Humanity offers students a constructive spring break

By Bre Nichols

Students and members of the Waco community will have the opportunity to help finish building two local houses during the Second Annual Spring Break Build by Baylor’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

The project will begin Saturday. Participants will have Sunday off and then pick up again on Monday. The project will end March 17.

Wichita, Kan., freshman Matt Louis, service chair for Habitat for Humanity, said to begin the project, the organization teamed up with Kappa Omega Tau fraternity and built the frame for one of the houses on campus during Christmas on 5th Street.

Since then, members of Habitat for Humanity and other volunteers from the Baylor and Waco communities have been going out to work on the houses every Saturday. Habitat for Humanity provides the tools and building supplies.

“The plan is to finish the first house we started working on during the Christmas on 5th Street, and then finish the second house we will also be working on nearby,” Louis said.

Louis said the organization is expecting more than 200 participants this year, surpassing last year’s build which had only 30 volunteers.

Mesquite Senior Veronica Renteria, internal president of the Baylor chapter of Habitat for Humanity, said the two houses that participants will be working on belong to Waco families.

With Habitat for Humanity, families are selected to receive homes from the organization based on three criteria: need, the ability to pay a monthly mortgage and a willingness to partner, meaning the family must complete 300 hours of work for the organization on their own house or another project.

After the first house was framed on the Baylor campus and moved to its new location, construction began for the next house, Renteria said.

“We decided to take on the building of both. It was just the circumstance this year, instead of how we only built one house last year,” she said.

Although both houses are beyond the foundational stages of framing and plumbing, they are not finished yet.

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done with the inside of the house, such as laying down tile, sanding and painting,” Renteria said.

At the beginning of each day, the building projects for both houses will be announced to the participants. Volunteers will then have the choice of which house and project they want to work on for the day. Each day, there will be two shifts from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

“It would be ideal for each house to have at least 15 people working during each shift in order to finish the projects — hopefully by the end of spring break,” Renteria said.

Renteria said the experience is ultimately gratifying for participants.

“You go out planning to help someone else, but in a way, they end up helping you,” she said. “The gratitude you receive from simply painting a wall is unlike anything you can receive anywhere else.”

Those interested can sign up before or during the project by emailing Matthew_Louis@baylor.edu.