CSU to Expand Role in Habitat for Humanity’s Alternative Spring Break

Lawrence Babin works on a Habitat house in 2010.COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University will showcase its Student Recreation Center and provide activities for college students from other parts of the country building houses here with Habitat for Humanity during the March 5-11, 2012 Spring Break.

After three years of organizing student volunteers for Columbus Area Habitat for Humanity’s Alternative Spring Break, Columbus State’s Center for Career Development is expanding its role to co-host this year’s event – borne from Habitat’s 19-year-old Collegiate Challenge.

CSU will entertain about 150 student volunteers, including its own and others from the University of Pittsburgh and Illinois State University, who are using Spring Break to build homes for low-income families.

A reception and introductory meeting on Sunday, March 4, followed by a Monday evening dinner program in the Student Recreation Center’s multipurpose room, kicks off a week that will close with a barbecue lunch on Friday. In between, post-workday activities will include a movie, swimming, bowling, talent show and various sports.

Last year, students – including those from the returning schools – worked on seven houses in south Columbus.

“Volunteer labor comes from all sources, but our best source is college students. Each year, hundreds of students come to Columbus to work, and not play or relax, during their Spring Break,” said Brinkley Pound, Columbus Area Habitat for Humanity executive director. “At the end of five days, a home is constructed from ‘slab to shingle’ and is ready for finishing work.”

What draws so many students to this volunteer work? Lawrence Babin, a senior business management major and three-year volunteer, said he “finds value in volunteering,” and “enjoys meeting the college students from across the country.”

Pound said CSU helps make visiting Columbus part of an Alternative Spring Break worth remembering.

“When the Collegiate Challenge takes place in Columbus, CSU students provide peer connections for visitors with `in the know’ information, fellowship and assistance that is truly unique to the Columbus build project,” said Pound, who holds an education specialist degree from CSU.  “Last year, CSU students worked with the University of Pittsburgh students, and this year, the school has already doubled its student commitment.” said Pound.

Last year’s Collegiate Challenge drew volunteers from CSU’s Servant Leadership Program, Residence Life and student organizations.

Throughout the country last year, 13,705 college students worked 479,975 volunteer hours and donated more than $1.5 million to 228 Habitat for Humanity affiliates.

“The visibility of the volunteer work through the Collegiate Challenge and Alternative Spring Break helps encourage the community and other CSU students to participate,” said Chris Bryant, career coordinator for CSU’s Center for Career Development. “This benefits the university. For example, visiting participants in this year’s recreational events on campus may consider attending graduate school here.”

Bryant said the university’s more prominent collaborative role with Columbus Habitat for Humanity “will absolutely increase CSU student participation in the program. Not just for the Alternative Spring Break but for the Collegiate Challenge as a whole.”

For more information about CSU’s Center for Career Development, visit http://ColumbusState.edu/career.


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Lawrence Babin, a senior business management major at Columbus State, participates in Habitat for Humanity's Collegiate Challenge 2010, helping build a South Columbus house. It was his third year to lend his time.

Higher-resolution photo original