A group of Bridgewater College students and a faculty member will trade suntan lotion and swim suits for hammers and tool belts as they spend spring break volunteering as construction workers with Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge Spring Break 2015.
The students, accompanied by Dr. Lou Pugliese, assistant professor of business administration, will leave for Athens, Ala., on Sunday, March 8, and return to campus on Saturday, March 14.
For the 2015 Spring Break Challenge, the group will work in partnership with the Habitat for Humanity of Athens/Limestone County Alabama.
To raise money for the trip, the group held a chili cook-off and helped a Bridgewater College alumna move to the Bridgewater Retirement Community.
Seniors Maggie Reeger, a global studies major with a minor in cultural studies, from Shelocta, Pa., and Morgan Bender, a nutrition and wellness major with a minor in cultural studies, from Grantville, Pa., president and vice president respectively of the Bridgewater College Campus Chapter, are student leaders for the group.
Reeger is making her fourth Habitat trip. She has traveled to Maryville, Tenn., Sumter, S.C. and Delray Beach, Fla.
“I like traveling to a new place and doing something meaningful with my week away from school,” said Regger.
For Reeger, a highlight of each trip has been working alongside the family that will eventually live in the house.
Bender is making her third Habitat trip. She has participated in Spring Break Collegiate Challenges in Sumter and Delray Beach.
Bender said “highlights of the trips include meeting new people who, like me, are dedicated to fighting homelessness and poverty, learning construction skills and making a difference in the greater community.”
The BC Campus Chapter, established in 1995, is one of nearly 700 campus chapters worldwide. Organized by Bridgewater students, the group is affiliated with Central Valley Habitat for Humanity in Bridgewater, and helps provide shelter to the residents of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
This is the 23nd year that Bridgewater College students have used spring break to work on various Habitat projects, including three trips to Miami and one each to Atlanta, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Independence, Mo. and Austin, Texas.
Now in its 39th year, Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing worldwide. The organization works in partnership with people in need throughout the world, building simple, decent shelter that is sold to them at no profit and financed with affordable loans.
In addition to Reeger and Bender, Bridgewater College students making the trip are:
Jeremy Bender, a freshman athletic training major, from Grantville, Pa.;
Madison Chilcote, a senior biology major with a minor in psychology, from Manchester, Md.;
Ashley B. Epping, a senior health and exercise science major, from Luray, Va.;
Lauren Flora, a freshman communication studies major, from Bridgewater, Va.;
Sarah Frye, a junior biology major, from Strasburg, Va.;
Emily C. Helms, a junior business administration major with a minor in communication studies, from Boone, N.C.;
Sophia R. Klancher, a sophomore sociology major, from Staunton, Va.;
Melissa McMindes, a senior psychology major with minors in cultural studies and Spanish, from Waynesboro, Va.;
Heidi Mears, a senior sociology major, from Stuarts Draft, Va.;
Aislinn H. Mirsch, a senior global studies major with minors in cultural studies and philosophy and religion, from Bridgewater, Va.;
Cody L. Noblitt, a sophomore environmental science major with an art minor, from Waverly, Va.;
Rebecca O’Neill, a freshman political science major, from Cape Elizabeth, Maine;
Grey Robinson, a junior applied physics and philosophy and religion double major, from Glade Spring, Va.;
Nathan Stephenson, a senior global studies major with minors in communication studies and cultural studies, from Ellicott City, Md.;
Maura Tudja, a freshman health and exercise science major, from Towson, Md.; and
Shelley Weachter, a senior mathematics major with a minor in philosophy and releigion, from Manassas, Va.