Helping Others Through Habitat for Humanity: Friars Open to Apply for This Year’s Spring Mission Trip

by The Cowl Editor


Campus


Students work together to build new homes for those in need. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Hall ’21.

by Maura Campbell ’22

News Staff

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 rlesch@friars.providence.edu 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.

In Their Natural Habitat: Friars Participate in Spring Break Service Trips

by The Cowl Editor


Campus


Habitat for Humanity provides Friars with the opportunity to give back to the community.

By Matthew Mazzella ’20

News Staff

This past spring break, Providence College students traveled across the East Coast to get their hands dirty and volunteer through Habitat for Humanity. These Friars made it their mission to give back to various communities and showcase what Providence College is all about.

Volunteer sites that Friars travelled to include Rockport, Maine, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Georgetown, Deleware, Mechanicsville, Virginia, York, Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Kittanning, Pennsylvania.

Senior coordinator and group leader, Ryan O’Keefe ’19, had his calendar marked for this trip every year, as it is one of his most cherished activities as a PC student. 

O’Keefe elaborates on his passion for this trip by stating, “This was my fourth Habitat for  Humanity Trip, second as group leader, and first-time coordinator. Habitat for Humanity has held a special place in my heart over the four years here at Providence College and when I was offered the position to be the 2018-2019 coordinator a little over a year ago, I was absolutely ecstatic to accept. This year we had over 100 participants at eight different sites across the east coast, stretching from Maine down to Virginia.”

With so many students looking to volunteer, Habitat for Humanity is the perfect trip for Friars looking to give back and help out others.

Sarah Kerrigan ’20 loves the opportunity  that Habitat for Humanity offers to give back to those less fortunate. Kerrigan loves incorporating service into her spring breaks, which is exactly why she chose Habitat for Humanity. The trip was a rewarding experience for her, as she got to help out those who needed a helping hand, as well as meet some amazing people along the way. 

Kerrigan elaborated on her love for this trip by stating, “Habitat is the perfect way to spend spring break; it’s a total mixture of giving to those less fortunate, as well as meeting and working with some of the most amazing people who become lifetime friends.”

Paige Christianson ’20 is an annual volunteer on Habitat for Humanity trips, making this past spring break her third trip while at PC. Christianson looks forward to these trips every year; it is always the highlight of her spring break. 

She not only loves the friendships she builds along the way, but the lives she impacts by her vow to help others. Christianson described her love for these trips by saying, “Habitat is a way to help give others a fresh start with a new home, while making new friends and memories with fellow friars.”

The trip was a huge success, and many cities and towns benefitted from the help of PC students lending a helping hand.

O’Keefe reminisces on his final trip by saying, “The most beautiful thing about Habitat for Humanity is that no matter where you go, or who you are with, each participant is able to make the trip unique in their own way. A Habitat for Humanity spring break trip gives the participant a rare opportunity to escape the Providence College bubble and become humbled by the environment around them. That is why this program is near and dear to my heart and that’s why I keep coming back to serve for this special organization.”

With so many students raving about their trips and the impact it has had on their lives, students should consider making this trip a part of their spring break at Providence College. If you have any interest in next year’s upcoming trip, contact Campus Ministry for more information.