In mid October, a small house slowly began to rise on the corner of University City Boulevard and John Kirk Drive, just behind East Deck. Two weeks and more than 250 volunteers later, Peggy McMullen’s new house – and UNC Charlotte’s homecoming Habitat for Humanity project – is finally ready to head for it’s permanent home. It took more than just a couple weeks to successfully continue one of homecoming’s newest and most ambitious traditions for a second year, though.
At $85,000, UNC Charlotte’s homecoming build was cheap for a house, but still a daunting task for the campus chapter, which was formed in 2009. “At times, we might have felt setbacks when we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to fund the house because it’s someone’s home we’re dealing with,” says Nhoell Inthavong, the publicity chair for UNC Charlotte’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. Even with large donations from local supporters of Habitat for Humanity, the campus chapter still had to do a bit of extra leg-work.
“We also fund-raised, as a campus chapter, with a 5K in the spring, fundraising events at restaurants, and letter writing campaigns to family and friends,” says Inthavong. “It’s been a combination of help and support from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the Charlotte community. People really understand what a great cause this is …”
UNC Charlotte’s involvement in construction of the house doesn’t end when it’s trucked off campus though. “We started it and we would love to help finish it! It’s also a chance for those who could not find time to volunteer these past two weeks to build on it now,” says Inthavong. They’ll have a special guest for the rest of the build, as McMullen – affectionately referred to as Miss Peggy – has planned ahead to take time off from her job as a custodian at Irwin Academic Center in uptown Charlotte to help finish her future residence.
The campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity doesn’t save all it’s big ideas for the fall semester, however. “Every spring break, our campus chapter goes on an alternative spring break called Collegiate Challenge. The entire week, we build every day working with a Habitat affiliate in whatever location we are at,” says Inthavong. This year’s trip will take groups of 15 students to Atlantic Beach and Vero Beach in Florida. Students interested in the trip can check the chapter’s website, and apply by Nov. 1. Those interested in smaller, regular events and projects can follow them on Facebook.