February 15, 2011

Students will spend spring break volunteering

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- While many students will spend spring break in a vacation hot spot or at home with family and friends, a sizeable group from Southern Illinois University Carbondale will help families obtain decent, affordable housing through Habitat for Humanity.

“This is the third year in a row our students have travelled during our spring break to help families obtain affordable housing. We are delighted to be of service to communities,” said Toni Manzella, president of the SIUC Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter.

The 2011 group from SIUC includes 76 students who will travel March 13-19 in five work groups to Bryan, Texas, and the Florida communities of Miami, Winter Haven and Key West. Student leaders for the teams include Aidee Torres, Anabell Torres, Mark Gaylord, Nathaniel Huffman, Dana Pribich, Cady Schrader, Tara Kulash, Jamie Babre, Jarid Perrin and Dan Miikalian. They’ll oversee the efforts of dozens of hard-working University students as they put up siding, install roofs, paint interiors, erect walls, lay carpet and more.

The students have been busy planning and raising funds for their trips for about the last four months. Soon, they’ll be joining the 182,000 students who have already been a part of Collegiate Challenge, the Habitat for Humanity national alternative break program.

The program allows students to combine service, personal growth, team building and fun in an effort that has a lasting impact on the communities involved, Manzella said.

The Wellness Center at the Student Health Center is recognizing and honoring students at SIUC who will spend spring break helping others. Special profiles of the students will be on display from Feb. 28 to March 18 at the Wellness Center and at various locations around campus, including the Student Center. You’ll be able to see photos of these students and find out a little about them, including their majors, ages, and why they are participating with Habitat for Humanity.

“The Wellness Center thinks it is pivotal to promote students engaged in service and community work during Spring Break. It is vital that we recognize that the students of SIUC provide a significant amount of volunteer service to the local area and other communities. This is something people may often overlook. We want to acknowledge these student efforts and the fact that service, personal growth and enjoyment can occur simultaneously, resulting in immensely rewarding experiences,” said Christopher Julian-Fralish, coordinator of the Alcohol and Other Drug Program at the Student Health Center Wellness Center.