UW-Green Bay faculty, staff and students rally to help ‘Habitat’ Miami
Students donate 1,200 hours
With the help of last-minute donations of money and personal time of UW-Green Bay faculty and staff, 40 UW-Green Bay students were able to make the 26-hour bus trip to Homestead, Florida to help construct homes through the Greater Miami Habitat for Humanity organization, January 9th through the 16th.
Just days before the group was set to depart, the traveling students found out that food would not be provided at the camp where they would be lodged, leaving them with insufficient funds to cover trip expenses. However, 13 UW-Green Bay faculty and staff members responded to a call for financial help, picking up the cost of 12 meals. Additionally, Mike Stearney, interim dean of enrollment services, gave up his own personal vacation and furlough time to accompany the students and serve as camp cook.
With finances and meal logistics taken care of, students concentrated on joining in on Miami Habitat’s “Building Blitz” — with the goal to build 22 homes in three months in Schrader’s Haven, a developing neighborhood in Homestead. The community took a direct hit from Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and is still recovering. UW-Green Bay students (31 female and 9 male) worked for four full days roofing, building reinforced concrete forms for walls and porches, and prepping the interiors of the houses for drywall to be installed by other volunteers later this month and next.
The crew felt right at home, too, with the weather, as south Florida experienced one of its coolest January weeks on record. Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view, and continue reading below…
“The fact that these students donated over 1,200 collective hours to the Habitat build, along with generous contributions of our faculty and staff that made their trip possible, makes this a special project,” said Stearney. “I’m so proud of the work that the students did to help build homes they will never see completed, and to touch the lives of people they will never meet.”
The effort was also a response for some members of the group to President Obama’s call to citizens for volunteer service to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Stearney said he kept meals fast and simple, and with a nod to UW-Green Bay tradition, provided tacos on Tuesday to the appreciative and hungry workers. The students did find some time for recreation, with a field trip to South Beach, regular evening bonfires at the camp, and one evening dining out to sample the local cuisine at a nearby Cuban restaurant.
Cassie Johnson is the president of the Habitat for Humanity chapter at UW-Green Bay. Jennifer Jones, assistant director of Admissions (marketing) is the group’s advisor.