Spring Break Service With A Smile

By: Toni Harrison
By: Toni Harrison

For some students, Spring Break isn't about the beach or skiing, but about helping others. Twelve students from the University of Wisconsin at Madison decided to pick up a hammer and nails. The group will be spending their Spring Break in the Brazos Valley, building a house for Habitat for Humanity.

"Actually, I did consider going skiing in Colorado. But, I passed that one up," said Elizabeth Starry, student volunteer.

The trip cost students $230 and they spent more than 18 hours on the road just to get here, but they say it's the feeling you get from helping others that makes it worth it.

"You could just be sitting on a beach someplace, but instead you're donating you're time to help other people out. To see them appreciate what you're doing for them is very rewarding," said Nick Van Gompel, student volunteer.

"I want to be able to gain that feeling of satisfaction of helping someone else," said Starry.

The group arrived in Bryan on Sunday, but they aren't the only college group making their way to the Brazos Valley to help Habitat. Last week a group from Eureka College in Colorado came to help. Next week, Habitat will have help from students from Carleton College in Minnesota

"We get to complete a house in three weeks when it would usually take us anywhere from 8-12 weeks to complete a house," said Mike Sutton, director of development, Habitat for Humanity.

Mike Sutton with Habitat says the local chapter is linked with the students through a program called Collegiate Challenge with Habitat for Humanity International.

"We actually didn't expect to get anyone this year with all the hurricane damage down in Mississippi and Louisiana," said Sutton.

Some of these students say they've never worked on a Habitat house and most say this is their first trip to Texas. But for all of them, this spring break will be well spent.


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