Habitat ASB builds house, friendships in N.C.

by ROB STRONG | 3/25/03 6:00am

Tanning on sun-soaked beaches and taking tequila body shots until dawn are the traditional pastimes of college students on spring break, but for a dedicated group of students, this year's break meant slipping on rain-soaked hillsides and drinking iced sweet tea in church basements. These are the students of the Tucker Foundation's Alternative Spring Break trip to Lenoir, North Carolina. One of three ASBs to work with Habitat for Humanity this year, the group of 14 freshmen, sophomores and juniors traveled south to assist in Habitat's mission of providing affordable housing for those in need.

Arising at 8:00 a.m. each morning, the group left the Baptist church youth center which served as their temporary home and spent the day painting, nailing, sawing and planting under the direction of local Habitat for Humanity coordinator Pete Kidder, alongside retirees who taught the students the fundamentals of home construction. A seemingly endless parade of volunteers from local chuches took turns feeding the crew a variety of southern dishes.

A highlight for all involved with the trip was the community bonding experienced. A week of sleeping on the floor and firing butane-fueled nail guns together has a way of making friends of strangers that is hard to beat.

"It reminded of DOC Trips where you're forced to live, eat and breathe with these people that you don't know," said Sejal Vashi '05. "A few people knew each other from before, but for the most part we were all just getting to know each other. We had a blast. By the end we had so many inside jokes and memories."

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