from Pitt-Bradford soaked up the sun this year in
Miami during spring break, but they didn’t do it on the beach. Swapping bathing
suits for construction hats to build houses for the Habitat for Humanity of
Miami was on the agenda for these spring breakers.
Eleven students from the
Pitt-Bradford Habitat for Humanity club and about 40 students from Pitt-Johnstown
decided to spend their breaks volunteering and serving the Miami community.
Rachel Brune, a
freshman sports medicine major from Philadelphia, said, “I wanted to do something
other than lounge around at home, and what a better way to do that then to help
This was Brune’s first
time participating in the Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge. She
decided to sign up for the alternative spring break trip because she said it
was a good opportunity to get to know her fellow club members and give back
“There is always someone who needs help, so if
you’re able to give it I don’t see why you wouldn’t,” Brune said.
She said the experience
was so rewarding that she is planning to get involved this summer for a local
chapter in Philadelphia with her dad.
Pitt-Bradford’s Habitat for Humanity chapter vice
president, Nicki Kellogg, a collegiate challenge veteran, said it’s an amazing
opportunity that everyone should experience.
a sophomore criminal justice major from Cuba, N.Y, said this year she was
excited that she got to do more construction work than she did last year. Her
favorite part of the trip was learning how to shingle a roof, she said.
“Knowing you’re putting
a roof on someone’s house, who otherwise would be homeless without the help
from Habitat, is pretty sweet, Kellogg said.
Kellogg said that the biggest misconception
about Habitat for Humanity is that people receive free houses.
“To be eligible to live
in a house built by Habitat is a three-step process” she said. “First you must
apply for a house, then show a need, and finally agree to ‘sweat equity’.”
affordable housing at low-interest rates giving people the ability to pay off
the mortgage. The people receiving
assistance are also required to dedicate 500 hours to work on their home, which
is referred to as “sweat equity”.
said being a part of the organization is so rewarding, and she plans to work
with the McKean County chapter this summer.
the course of the week, the volunteers from Pitt-Bradford and other schools
worked on five different houses. The students began their work shift at 7:30
a.m. and ended the work day at 2:30 p.m. Paid Habitat staff supervisors taught
students how to carry out various construction duties such as landscaping,
roofing and building walls.
Kimberly Rublee, a
manager in Pitt-Bradford’s Office of Conference Services, advised the
alternative spring break trip to Florida. Rublee said the alternative spring
break trip benefitted not only the students, but the community as well. Her
goal of the trip was to learn more about the Habitat organization to be able to
be a resource to Pitt-Bradford club members and the McKean County chapter, she
She said based on what
she heard about last year’s trip, she expected a powerful experience, but
seeing it first hand was so different.
“What surprised me most
about the students was that they didn’t shy away from showing their passion and
their emotions. I probably shed more tears than anyone,” she said while
By the end of the trip the
students had not only provided service to the Miami community, but they gained
a deeper passion for the Habitat organization and a new perspective on cultural
diversity, which Rublee said were benefits of the trip.
To learn more about how
you can give back to your community, attend a Habitat for Humanity club meeting
Sundays at 6:30 p.m. in Room 101, Swarts Hall.