News release
Public Information Office   SLU 10880   Hammond, LA 70402   phone: 985-549-2341   fax: 985-549-2061 Spring 2004 news releases Public Information home News archive

Contact: Christina Chapple
Date: 2/28/05
Southeastern students volunteer for HabitatClick on image for publication quality photo 

HELPING HABITAT – Members of Phi Sigma Pi were the first group of Southeastern Louisiana University students to volunteer to help build a house for the Ginger Ford Habitat for Humanity. The house, located on Clinton Court, will be built over the next few months by all Southeastern workers. From left, are (front) Nikki Falcone, Independence; Nicole LeBlanc, Kenner; Jessica Flick, Klamath Falls, Ore.; Stephanie Cadro, Metairie; Tim Smith, LePlace; back, Habitat contractor Keith Trepagnier; Jaime Samrow, Baton Rouge; Lynsi Brown, New Orleans; Melanie DeHart, Morgan City; and Justin Kittrell, Monroe.

      HAMMOND – A group of Southeastern Louisiana University students recently donned work gloves and transformed themselves from an honors fraternity into a construction crew.
       The seven women and two men from Phi Sigma Pi were the first volunteer group to report for work at the site of the Ginger Ford Habitat for Humanity’s newest project – a 1,000 square foot, three-bedroom home on Clinton Court, located off North Cherry Street not far from the university campus.
      The home will be built over the next four months by all-Southeastern volunteers.
      Supervised by contractor Keith Trepagnier, a Habitat veteran, the Phi Sigma Pi members on the first Saturday workday helped “wreck the form,” or pull off the wooden border of the house’s slab, before beginning to measure, cut and frame the structure. 
      What the student crew lacked in experience, they made up for in energy and enthusiasm, Trepagnier said. And that, he added, is just what Habitat projects need.
      “We need willing bodies ready to work. We can do the job with these kids,” said Trepagnier. “These girls have been doing great. They’ve grabbed mauls and have been getting after it!” 
      Phi Sigma Pi President Jaime Samrow, a sophomore nursing major from Baton Rouge, said her organization embraced the Habitat volunteerism as a fun, hands-on service project. According to Kyle McClure, who is organizing the Southeastern volunteers along with university EEO/ADA compliance officer Gene Pregeant, that is the reaction he is getting from many Southeastern student organizations. 
     McClure, coordinator of promotions for Southeastern Athletics, said more than 130 members of the Southeastern family, including students in 20 organizations, have signed up to pitch in on the Habitat project.
     The idea of an all-Southeastern volunteer Habitat house, he said, originated with the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, which is made up of two representatives from each of Southeastern’s 15 athletic teams. 
      “We realized that it was going to be too big a project just for Athletics, so we invited the whole university,” he said. 
      “With 15,000 students and a couple a thousand staff and faculty, this project is a good match,” added Pregeant.
     To organize the volunteer teams, McClure and Pregeant sent emails to the faculty or staff advisors of Southeastern’s more than 80 student organizations. 
     Signed up so far – in addition to Phi Sigma Pi and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee – are the Presbyterian Campus Ministries, Alpha Sigma Tau, Wesley Foundation, Circle K International, Men's Basketball, Sigma Gamma Rho, Theta Chi, Southeastern Lady Cubs, Theta Phi Alpha, Southeastern Association for Family and Consumer Sciences, Phi Sigma Pi, Alpha Omicron Pi, Phi Mu, Biology Graduate Student Organization, the Department of General Business, National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association, Delta Tau Delta, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and the Campus Activities Board. 
     “It has really helped me to have Kyle and Gene take this on,” said Ginger Ford Habitat for Humanity Director Lori Dardis. “I’m amazed at how much work the first group was able to get done. Those students did an exceptional job.”
     Dardis said the Southeastern house is one of five that Ginger Ford Habitat for Humanity hopes to build this year. The Clinton Court house is being built for Vertisteen Easterling with July 1 as the targeted completion date.
     In addition to working on the job site, Dardis said members of the Southeastern community can also coordinate food for the volunteer workers or help with other Habitat construction projects, including a home in Independence that is nearing completion and a new project that will begin in April with funds raised by the Shop for Habitat.
     “Sometimes we just need volunteers to distribute flyers, to help with clerical work in our office, or with fund-raising,” she said. “It’s wonderful working with Southeastern, especially the students. I’ll take all of the help they are able to give.”
      Members of the Southeastern community who would like to join in the Habitat house construction project can contact McClure at 985-549-2900 or Pregeant at 985-549-5888. Potential Habitat volunteers can also contact Dardis at