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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.
SOUTHEASTERN SIGNS UP, PITCHES IN TO BUILD
A HOME FOR HABITAT
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
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
“We realized that it was going
to be too big a project just for Athletics, so we invited the whole university,”
“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
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.