Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Out of the Lab: Habitat For Humanity

GIS interns took some time away from the lab over spring break to work with Habitat for Humanity on a new building project. The group was participating in their Collegiate Challenge program – a national initiative to involve college students to compete by means of construction projects.

“This year, we arrived on the site and the house was ‘dried-in,’” Journeyman Erika Koontz, 2017, said. “Meaning that the walls were sheathed in plywood and the roof was shingled. We were set to work on completing the siding on the house and putting the fascia, soffit, and other finishing pieces to make the outside of the house look nice for the homeowner.”
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The group traveled to South Carolina from March 13-19 and worked with construction leaders Bob Brown and Drew O’Rourke.

“Not only did this relentless crew finish each and every job at hand, but they had a blast doing it, from rocking out to ‘My House’ to forming a ten-person conga line. At the end of the day, the students truly understood that they were not only building a house, but they were building hope for a well deserving family,” the press release for the trip stated.

Koontz became involved with Habitat in high school, but she said that her involvement developed when she joined her freshman year at Washington College.

“I’ve definitely gained a lot of self-confidence from the trip, and construction skills,” she said.

Koontz, over the course of six trips, has worked on a variety of different stages when it comes to building a house – from framing to completing the siding.

“I’ve also met many people who are as inspired by Habitat’s mission to provide clean, decent, and safe housing for those without it,” Koontz said.

This was the first time what WC has partnered with Sumter Habitat for Humanity affiliate and after this experience, they’ve now set up a strong partnership.


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