Students help build homes over winter break

tile workSeveral SUNY Oswego students on winter break raised walls and hope with Habitat for Humanity in Brunswick, Ga.

Over the past five years, some SUNY Oswego students have spent their vacations serving others by volunteering to build homes as part of Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge.

They have been part of the 113,700 Collegiate Challenge volunteers who have raised more than $9.8 million to build Habitat houses. Throughout the year, students raise funds and coordinate awareness-building activities to educate the campus and community about the issues of hunger, homelessness and sub-standard housing. 

This winter break, during the week of Jan. 8, 12 SUNY Oswego students and staff helped build simple, decent and affordable homes with families in need, said Christy Huynh, coordinator of SUNY Oswego’s Center for Service Learning and Community Service. The group worked on two homes and made significant progress on both houses, she said.

The first house was near completion and the family plans to move into the home in early February. The students painted the interior of the house and laid tiles in every room. The second home, being built for a family of six who was burned out of their house, was not as far along and still did not have a roof or siding. Students spent hours hammering, measuring, securing walls and lifting trusses onto the top of the house. 

“I went to Georgia to help others, to grow as an individual, and to see new places,” said Meagan Smith, co-president of SUNY Oswego’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. “I learned so much more that I had ever imagined about poverty, carpentry, different cultures and the opportunities that are out there for people who care to make a difference. By hearing the stories of other workers and homeowners, I have seen firsthand how important Habitat for Humanity is to families and communities, and I want to be a part of that.”

Twenty-four students are currently planning and fundraising for their spring break trip to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Maryland and Virginia.

SUNY Oswego’s Center for Service Learning and Community Service is dedicated to helping students become involved with this project.

“These are such wonderful opportunities for students,” Huynh said. “They are able to spend a whole week devoted to giving back to the community and in turn they always learn so much about themselves and others. It is often a life-changing experience for everyone involved.”

More information on these projects can be found on Habitat for Humanity’s Web page at

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PHOTO CAPTION: Home work—SUNY Oswego student volunteer Samantha Edwards puts tiles on the floor of a home being built by Habitat for Humanity volunteers in Brunswick, Ga. During the college’s winter break in early January, a dozen SUNY Oswego students and staff members took part in building projects as part of Habitat’s Collegiate Challenge.

CONTACT: Christy Huynh, 312-2505 or

(Posted: Jan 26, 2006)