U chapter completes first Habitat for Humanity home

Emily Johns

The University’s Habitat for Humanity chapter celebrated the completion of its first sponsored home at a dedication ceremony Saturday morning.

Peggy White and her family, the new homeowners, attended the dedication ceremony. White originally applied for a Habitat for Humanity house in April 1999. She discovered she would be receiving one several days before Christmas 2001.

“The day they told me, I came right over to look at it,” White said.

The house was in bad shape when White viewed it with site supervisor Paul Honigs.

“I was imagining it with him,” she said.

Peggy spoke with the volunteers and donors at the dedication ceremony Saturday.

“It’s nice to know there are people out there who have hearts of gold,” she said.

The house, originally built in 1907, is located on Portland Avenue in Minneapolis. It took a year to renovate. Work began on Nov. 17, 2001, and finished in November 2002. In the process of fixing it, volunteers hauled more than 25 cubic yards of sand from the basement, Honigs said. The floor plan was redesigned several times throughout the process.

Honigs also spoke to the group during the dedication ceremony, discussing the amount of labor that went into the house.

“There’s so much a part of me in this place,” he said.

Jill Kilibarda, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity volunteer coordinator said that when she was originally approached about the campus chapter sponsoring a house, she knew it was an ambitious project. But the students came through.

“You’ve done every piece of your work here as if you were much older than college students,” she said to the volunteers.

The campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity has been active for 11 years. With 70 members, the chapter routinely sends students on trips across the country to help with builds, said chapter President Brian Barlow. For the semester break, the chapter took its first international trip, sending 15 students to Costa Rica for more than two weeks.

In February 2000, the chapter heard about a matching grant from Habitat for Humanity International. If they raised $12,500 on their own, they would receive another $12,500 donated.

The chapter organized fundraisers such as building ice houses and staging a Battle of the Bands, and it soon had enough money to sponsor its first house.

Meredith Hayes, secretary of the University chapter, said they also worked with the Macalester, Hamline and St. Thomas chapters to form the Twin Cities Campus Chapter foundation.

At the end of the dedication ceremony, White made a promise to all of the volunteers that their work would not go unnoticed in her household.

“There will be lots of love in this home – always,” she said.

Emily Johns welcomes comments at [email protected]