Student chapter of Habitat for Humanity builds a foundation of community service
“The efforts of this student chapter are, in my estimation, a prime example of a new platform of involved citizenry that is required for the challenges that lie ahead in our nation and our world.”
Ellenville site supervisor, Ulster County Habitat for Humanity
The work is non-stop. And it can be dirty. Yet, for the members of the college’s Habitat for Humanity chapter it is a worthwhile endeavor to help build housing for local residents.
“We’re needed here,” said Amanda Merritt, a senior studying elementary education at New Paltz. “Our work is all about the community.”
Affiliated with the Newburgh chapter of Habitat for Humanity, the group donates its time and energy to work on building homes for families in need. This year, the students are part of a youth-based Habitat program. Since September, the group has traveled to Newburgh to help construct a building that will provide temporary housing for a number of residents, including those waiting for Habitat-built homes. The collegiate team is taking turns with Vassar College, Marist College and Mount Saint Mary College to build the center from the ground up. The 15-25 members have also been involved with building projects in Ellenville.
In addition to serving the needs of residents in the region, Habitat volunteers have also traveled across the country to New Orleans and South Carolina to construct and repair housing.
The students’ philanthropic work with the organization also includes participating in fundraising projects, such a food and clothing drives.
“I’m very proud of this group,” said Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School Laurel Garrick Duhaney, who serves as adviser. Garrick Duhaney took over the leadership of the group when the chapter’s founder, Pastor Paul Walley, retired in 2007.