by Maura Campbell ’22
With midterms approaching and schoolwork piling up, students may already be looking ahead to spring break. When planning whether to spend the week on vacation, at home, or somewhere else, many students are considering a different type of spring break experience: Habitat for Humanity’s spring service trip.
Habitat for Humanity, an international, nonprofit organization, is dedicated to building affordable and comfortable housing for families living in poverty.
Providence College’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, in connection with Campus Ministry, has sent hundreds of students on service trips and events. In particular, PC’s chapter is now preparing for their 2020 spring break service trip.
This trip is planned to take place March 7-14, 2020 and is part of the nationwide “Collegiate Challenge” program during which schools, including colleges and high schools, send student volunteers to different Habitat affiliates. Each of these trips is unique from year to year, including different projects, site managers, affiliate volunteers, and homeowners.
Students have found the Habitat for Humanity program rewarding, with overwhelmingly positive feedback. Many students sign up for multiple trips and events after their first experience.
Rob Lesch ’20, student coordinator of PC’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, spoke about his involvement and experience with the program. “The Habitat program at PC,” he says, “allows students to give back to people in need while forming life-long friendships with people they would never expect.”
Courtney Salinsky ’20, fundraising chair of PC’s chapter, agreed, saying, “I knew that [Habitat] would be something that I would enjoy, but I had no idea that it would be my favorite thing that I have been involved in at PC.”
One of the most notable aspects of the Habitat for Humanity spring break service trip is that the homeowners themselves are also involved with building the house. This allows volunteers to meet the future homeowners and get to know them and their story personally.
“It is so special,” Salinsky says, “to learn their story and know that you are contributing to them improving their lives.”
In addition, the program is also known for creating new connections and friendships on campus. Lesch spoke about some of the connections he’s made on Habitat trips, saying, “The people I’ve met through Habitat these past two years have become some of my best friends.”
Salinsky added, “My favorite thing about Habitat has been the people that it has brought into my life. Strangers that I used to pass walking around campus have become some of my best friends and have had a significant impact on my life.”
Throughout the year, PC’s Habitat chapter will be holding fundraising events to offset the cost of participation in the service trip, since they do not want cost to be a determining factor in students’ decision whether to participate.
This year’s spring break service trip costs $200,which covers all food, lodging, transportation, insurance, and Habitat fees, as well as the $50 deposit.
Students interested in getting involved with PC’s Habitat for Humanity chapter can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and also follow @FriarsOnHabitat on Instragram.
Applications for the chapter’s 2020 spring break service trip can be found online and are due on Oct. 25.