Beginning this week Lafayette Habitat for Humanity will be hosting over 100 college student volunteers from all over their United States who will be spending their spring break building homes with families in need of affordable housing.
These volunteers are participants in Habitat for Humanity International’s annual Collegiate Challenge, program, which provides college students with the opportunity to travel to a local Habitat affiliate for a week of intensive work on the construction site, as well as a chance to delve more deeply into housing issues in the communities where they serve. Participants raise funds to pay for their travel expenses and make a contribution to their host affiliate to cover the costs of their accommodations while they are volunteering. Schools that will be partnering with Lafayette Habitat for Humanity this year include Columbia University, the Ohio State University, Minnesota Concordia College, Rice University, DeSales University, St. Louis University, Connecticut Trinity College and Illinois North Central College. While they are in Lafayette the students will be working on several homes currently under construction in Lafayette’s McComb/Veazey neighborhood as part of Lafayette Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative.
“Collegiate Challenge is one of the most productive times of the year for us,” said Joelle Boudreaux, Volunteer Services Director at Lafayette Habitat. ”These students could be spending a week at the beach, but instead are investing their time to make a direct impact in the lives of others through community service.”
And while the students are hard at work on the Habitat construction sites, a number of local restaurants and individuals have once again stepped up to donate lunches so that the visitors will get a true taste of Cajun hospitality. Boudreaux hopes that the student volunteers will be able to immerse themselves in Cajun culture during their time in Lafayette. “We have several repeat groups from past years who wanted to come back and work with us again, and I think that has a lot to do with the great experiences they’ve had in Lafayette, both on and off the construction site.”
For the past 25 years, more than 229,000 students have spent their school breaks volunteering across the country through the Collegiate Challenge program, donating more than $23 million to Habitat affiliates.
“We’re grateful to Lafayette Habitat for Humanity for hosting the students as part of Collegiate Challenge,” said Jenn Skudlarek, Habitat for Humanity International’s manager of U.S. volunteer programs. “Their work together makes a meaningful difference and will have a lasting impact in communities across the country.”