Any Color You Like, As Long As It’s Green
Rising energy costs and environmental awareness power a new emphasis on building
tighter, more efficient homes
By Rebekah Daniel
When passersby glance at Robin Marks’ house in Indianapolis, they might notice that the grass is nicely cut or
that the front porch would be a convenient place to put the groceries down and fish for the key. They would see
evergreen landscaping and durable-looking siding. Close observers might even see evidence of the two
children who live there — a toy drum in the entryway or a glimpse of a High School Musical decorating theme
through a bedroom window.
They won’t see the $50 per month that Robin doesn’t have to pay the electric company to power her energy-
efficient appliances and fluorescent light bulbs. As the owner of one of Greater Indianapolis Habitat for
Humanity’s ―green‖ homes, Robin enjoys paying as much as 50 percent less in energy bills than she did when
she lived in a two-bedroom apartment. And as a single mom and teacher at a private day care, every little bit
helps. ―Either I put it away and save it for the kids or get odds and ends for the house,‖ she says. ―Most of the
time, I save it for the emergency fund in case the car breaks down or something happens.‖
An emergency fund, the real possibility of a short family vacation, the cushion that protects parents from
anxiety about birthdays with no gift — these ―treats‖ are offshoots of green building, a construction trend that is
good both for homeowners and the world they live in.
A Green Process for a Greener Result
The green building movement is a broad umbrella sheltering everyone, from the eco-conscious couple who
chooses sustainably harvested hardwoods for the floors in their otherwise traditional house to the eco-
adventurous homesteader living off the grid in a cabin in the woods. The concept isn’t new. Environmentally
conscious home buyers, especially those with the means to afford luxury housing, have had an array of
products available to them for years. Green affordable housing, however, has lagged despite the growing
market for houses with lower operating costs and the obvious health benefits of living in a dry, clean house —
In the last several years, Habitat for Humanity affiliates have had an increasing number of green building
resources at their disposal: new high-efficiency products at lower prices, better publicized building techniques,
partnerships that share costs, and standardized rating criteria to evaluate energy use. And as it turns out, the
leap to green building has not been as far or as risky as some Habitat affiliates anticipated.
When Dallas Area Habitat agreed to take on a project called Frazier Courtyards, it found that many of the
practices it originally had adopted to save money were considered green as well. Building in already-urban
areas and reusing existing utility hookups is green; Frazier Courtyards is a 51-house development on the site of
a former housing authority project. Building modestly sized houses that fit families’ needs without wasting
space is green; of the 40 houses Habitat is scheduled to build, 13 will be ―empty nesters‖ — 824-square-foot, 2-
bedroom and 1-bath garden homes to be sold to partner families who no longer need extra bedrooms to
support growing families.
―Some of what we’ve been doing is kind of incremental from what we were already doing,‖ says Leo
Putchinsky, deputy director with Dallas Area Habitat. ―For the last five years, we’ve been building our walls in
the shop. That lets us minimize the wasted lumber on site. We have a volunteer that lays out the homes in the
most efficient use of lumber that we can in terms of how the walls are built. Best building practices are
The philosophy of reducing waste, recycling everything possible and taking advantage of energy efficiencies
during construction can result in a home as green as the construction practices that built it. In 2005, Metro
Denver Habitat for Humanity partnered with energy experts to build a house that completes each year with a
net-zero energy bill.
―The Zero Energy House is a result of a partnership with the National Renewable Energy Lab,‖ says Bruce
Carpenter, construction manager at Metro Denver Habitat. ―We typically will partner with the experts and
understand what the cutting edge innovations are, and then determine what we can actually do. Part of our
philosophy is to learn what we can, take what we can and leave the rest.‖
The process of learning the most energy-efficient techniques and adapting them to Habitat’s volunteer-friendly,
cost-conscious methods means the affiliate sometimes walks a line between being willing to experiment with
new products and staying careful to spend donor dollars wisely. Through the years, however, Metro Denver
Habitat has derived a list of energy-saving techniques that apply to each house build, some of which are now
included in the housing code, Carpenter says.
―I’ve been here 11 years, and since early on we have, as most affiliates have, tried to limit the operational cost
of our families’ houses,‖ Carpenter says. ―We don’t want to give anyone a mortgage and have them not be able
to afford the utilities. We’re always about passive solar, having the orientations correct, the right amount of
windows and right amount of glass.‖
A Breath of Fresh Air
New York City is not the first place that might come to mind when people think of green building, but Habitat for
Humanity New York City executive director Josh Lockwood thinks perhaps it should be.
―In some ways, living in New York City is a much greener way to live than living in another part of the country
where things are more spread out and the population is not so dense,‖ he says. ―Our carbon footprint is much
smaller because we live in small spaces, we use public transportation, and the rate of car ownership is far less.
Land is scarce here, so when we get a piece of land here at New York Habitat … we build up and
accommodate more families.‖
As a case in point, the affiliate is in the midst of building a 41-unit multi-family housing development in Brooklyn
that takes environmental impact, and especially indoor air quality, very seriously. In addition to building with
non-toxic finishes, New York City’s Habitat houses feature timer-controlled mechanical ventilation to ensure an
adequate supply of fresh air.
―We had found that many of the families we were serving, before they moved into their Habitat housing, were
suffering from childhood asthma and other ailments related to volatile organic compounds and paints and
sealants,‖ Lockwood says. ―We thought it was important to build green for the physical health of the families.‖
Though few would dispute the benefits of green building from an environmental or energy-savings point of
view, there are extra costs involved: Energy-efficient appliances are more expensive, and formaldehyde-free
cabinetry could be harder to find, for example. However, many other green techniques are cost-neutral if
planned for in advance. After all, if the landscaping includes a new sapling anyway, why not plant it where it will
grow to shade the house during hot, sunny afternoons?
Habitat affiliates continue to explore the new opportunities green building offers as a natural outgrowth of the
constant desire to build more houses for more families with less unnecessary expense and waste.
―As a mission-based and faith-based organization, we see ourselves as stewards of our planet,‖ Lockwood
says, ―and an important component of building as a faith-based organization is taking care of this earth. If we
can create homes that are more beneficial to the people and environment, that’s a great thing.‖
Habitat keeps energy efficiency and affordable design in mind as it builds around the world. Look for
international examples of green building in the June 2009 issue.
Two years after Katrina, Habitat for Humanity continues long-term
AMERICUS, Ga. (Aug. 15, 2007) – Two years since
Hurricane Katrina came ashore, Habitat for Humanity
remains at work carrying out long-term recovery efforts by
building simple, decent and affordable housing in
partnership with low-income families.
With the help of more than 70,000 volunteers, more than
1,100 Habitat homes have been built or are under
construction. Building continues as Habitat plans to go the
distance in the region, currently starting construction on
more than 50 houses per month. Habitat’s Gulf Coast
Recovery program spans Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama
Giselle Brown admires the interior of her new Habitat
―Habitat for Humanity has received an enormous for Humanity house in Hattiesburg, Miss. Brown lived
outpouring of support from across the country and around in a mobile home in St. Bernard Parish near New
the world,‖ said Ken Meinert, senior vice president of Orleans for 20 years before it was destroyed by
Habitat’s Gulf Coast Recovery program. ―We are truly Hurricane Katrina.
grateful for the many people who have given their time
and resources to help low-income families rebuild their Presskit:
An international homebuilding movement with operations Partnerships and Collaborations
in nearly 90 countries, Habitat for Humanity has been at
work in the Gulf Coast helping low-income families build permanent housing for more than 20 years. Gulf Coast
Recovery funding and support has also assisted Habitat affiliates in restoring their operations and broadening their
work in communities.
―Our strategy is, and always has been, to work through local Habitat affiliates and communities and to develop
partnerships with organizations to help low-income families build simple, decent homes and recover,‖ said Meinert.
―There is much that has been accomplished but much more work to do.‖
Habitat has celebrated many milestones. Since constructing the first house in response to the storms in October 2005
in Slidell, La., Habitat began construction on the 500th house in Mobile, Ala., in November 2006, and the 700th house
in January 2007. Walls were raised on the organization’s 1,000th and 1,001st hurricane-recovery houses in May
2007 in St. Bernard Parish, La.
In addition to building homes, Habitat also has worked to serve as a catalyst that brings together organizations to
address low-income housing and recovery on a scale that Habitat alone would not be able to accomplish. In the past
two years, Habitat has partnered with Church World Service to fund the repair of homes for low-income families and
with The Salvation Army to increase building capacity, volunteer accommodations, and affordability of homes along
the Gulf Coast. Lutheran Social Services and other Katrina Aid Today consortium members are also actively helping
families find appropriate housing solutions, including Habitat homes. Many partnerships and collaborations are
ongoing with other organizations, community and faith groups and long-term recovery committees.
―Thanks to the support and tireless efforts from so many partners, we are humbled to have exceeded our initial goal
of 1,000 houses and to continue helping low-income families along the Gulf Coast rebuild and rebound for the long
term,‖ said Jonathan Reckford, Habitat’s CEO. ―Given the vast housing need that remains, however, our work is far
from finished. Habitat is committed to going the distance in the Gulf Coast, and we’ll do so with the continued
investment from donors, volunteers, partner organizations and the homeowner families themselves.‖
Volunteers can sign up to help build in a Gulf Coast community and donations for this continued effort can be made
online at http://www.habitat.org/gulfrecoveryeffort/default.aspx .
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated
to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 225,000 houses
worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit
Going the Distance in the Gulf
Two years after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Habitat for Humanity marks hurricane-
recovery milestones and forges ahead with rebuilding efforts.
By Kathryn Reid
It's been two full years since the world first began to respond to the twin furies of Katrina
and Rita, months full of hard lessons and hard work. Scenes of destruction and despair Jimmy and
have been replaced by scenes of renaissance and hope. A flood of Habitat for Humanity Rosalynn
volunteers, donations and support has reached into cut-off communities, slowly Carter Work
restoring a sense of normal life for families all along the Gulf Coast who still find
themselves starting over.
So much already has been done in so many places, and yet there is always more to do. "Gulf Coast recovery is
a marathon, not a sprint," Jim Pate, executive director of New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, told
volunteers who had come to help the affiliate raise the walls on the 1,000th and 1,001st hurricane recovery
houses in May. Most of his listeners were fellow marathoners--homeowners, volunteers, Habitat leadership and
staff, and board members and partners of affiliates in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.
Today, the area still struggles with the social, economic and environmental effects of the storms. For many
families, the storms aren't things of the past at all, but challenges to be faced anew every day. There is hope,
however, in the long haul. Opportunities for homeownership and affordable housing are a linchpin to the
recovery, and that's the reason Habitat volunteers and partners, like the ones profiled below, are focused on
the next 1,000 houses and beyond.
Wes Gautreaux returned home to south Louisiana to help with hurricane recovery.
A volunteer comes home to help
Wes Gautreaux grew up along the bayous of south Louisiana, but had relocated to the skyscrapers of New
York City for a job in finance by the time the storms struck. He saw the battered state of his home state and got
"I wanted to do something to help," says Gautreaux. Within days after Hurricane Katrina, he was framing
Habitat houses in Rockefeller Plaza. He also volunteered with the Red Cross and was deeply affected by the
stories he heard from evacuees. He knew he had to do more, and Habitat for Humanity was on his mind.
"My wife Jenny and I had planned to someday volunteer for a year, maybe in another country, to help people in
need," he says. "After what happened with Katrina, we decided the time was now and the place was south
Louisiana, our home."
Gautreaux applied to AmeriCorps, a sort of domestic Peace Corps, and hoped to serve in New Orleans. But
before his assignment came through, another hurricane struck. Rita flattened Delcambre, his wife's hometown
in southwest Louisiana. Gautreaux switched his application to indicate a preference for Iberia Habitat for
Humanity, a little affiliate in need of some new energy and enthusiasm.
And so Gautreaux came home to join the rebuilding effort, not knowing that the tools he'd find most useful were
the customer service and client management tools he had used in the finance world. With a strong work ethic,
boundless enthusiasm and varied skills, Gautreaux began to work on board recruitment and development,
public relations, volunteer management, and house sponsorships. "Wes has been here seven months, and it's
amazing what he's achieved in that time," says volunteer construction supervisor Doc Smith. "We have a nine-
member board now; Wes deserves credit for that." The industrious Gautreaux also has recruited for
administration and construction help and contacted major employers in the area to share information about
Habitat's opportunities for homeownership. One of the new board members is leading plans for a fall fund-
raiser that will help the organization extend its reach and the depth of its grassroots support.
On Saturdays, Gautreaux joins volunteers to build with a local homeowner who's lived in a FEMA trailer since
Hurricane Rita. And in May, Gautreaux joined more than 500 fellow AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps
alums in Gulfport, Miss. They came from all over America--including Alaska and Hawaii--to blitz build 20
houses with Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. For many, it was the culmination of a year of
service with hurricane-affected families whose need for housing is stark and immediate.
One of the keys to projects such as the hurricane recovery effort, Gautreaux says, is exposing more people to
the Habitat experience. "Once people see it with their own eyes and touch it, they get the feel for what we're
trying to do," he says. "They get the bug."
Going the Distance in the Gulf (continued)
Putting others first, two affiliates become one
Hurricane Katrina might have blown apart many things, but the winds of the storm put others together,
sometimes in unexpected and beneficial ways. In the wake of the storm, southern Mississippi saw two Habitat
affiliates--Habitat for Humanity of Jackson County and Harrison County Habitat for Humanity--look at their
situations and decide to merge in early 2007. The result is Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, a
different approach to meeting the area's great need.
Al Sturgeon had been involved at some level with both affiliates before the merger. The pastor of Ocean
Springs' Church of Christ, he had volunteered in Harrison County before going on to help found the Jackson
County organization. He experienced firsthand the sea change that Katrina meant for his community.
Twenty-seven of the 90 families in his congregation were out of their homes, his own family included. Ten days
after the storm, Habitat for Humanity International staff and consultants found Sturgeon at his church, where
congregation members were cooking, sleeping and sharing basic necessities.
"This whole catastrophic event has forced us to look at how we do business."
In the newly formed affiliate's service area, 75,000 houses were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina; all of the low-
income housing was gone, he says. "I was near the end of my term limit (on the Jackson County Habitat board)
when Katrina hit," says Sturgeon. By merging, the two affiliates recognized a unique opportunity to have a
significant impact in an area where 95,000 people were still living in FEMA trailers 20 months after the
The two boards "were going in opposite directions and as far apart as they could be" when they met for a joint
retreat, Sturgeon says. But the hurricane had "scrambled" people. It was hard to maintain Friday night football
rivalries after being dislocated; people were living and working in each other's communities. The affiliates
realized that they could be stronger working as one. Turns out their individual strengths and weaknesses were
complementary. Jackson County had a diverse and active base of committee members; Harrison County had a
strong program of family education and support.
"This whole catastrophic event has forced us to look at how we do business," says Latan Griffin, board
president at the time of the merger. "It has been an unbelievable journey. Before our merger, the two affiliates
built five houses a year; this year, we are building 120."
Griffin had been a Saturday builder who aspired to be a volunteer construction supervisor. He wound up
leading the board of the merged organization. "When I became board president, I didn't know much about
Habitat, but I knew corporate America and I knew leadership," he says. "In our community, Habitat used to be a
homegrown, apple-pie-and-mom volunteer group. We've got staff now; one year ago, we had no staff. Now
there are 19 trucks, there's equipment and resources.
"We've been blessed," he says, with a wry smile. "God is taking us to a very exciting place of service."
Calynn and Cayla LeBlanc have started over in New Orleans with help from Habitat.
New Orleans homeowner shares blessings
Habitat homeowner Casey LeBlanc lost everything when the levees broke after Hurricane Katrina and New
Orleans flooded. While the mother of two may have lost her old life, she gained a new perspective and
These days, LeBlanc and two other new Habitat homeowners--all of them Lowe's employees--are using their
recently acquired construction skills and leadership to give others the same chance at homeownership that
each of them found through Habitat.
"You don't get blessed just to keep it to yourself," says LeBlanc, who now resides in Musicians' Village with her
daughters Cayla, 4, and Calynn, 2.
Before the storm, LeBlanc and her family lived in an Uptown New Orleans rental. She had no hope, she says,
of owning her own home; she couldn't have dreamed it. After being knocked down by the storm, spending two
days in the Superdome and months after that in Houston, she heard from her former pastor that New Orleans
Area Habitat for Humanity was building houses with families who wanted to come home. She was determined
to give it a try.
"Before Katrina I was struggling, living paycheck to paycheck, working crazy hours at a payday loan company
and worrying about day care," LeBlanc says. "Now I have a good job, financial stability and a house--a solid
foundation for my family."
It's a foundation she wants to help others build. With her own home built and sweat-equity hours behind her,
LeBlanc says she is committed to helping with the recovery. "I like construction; it makes you appreciate the
house to be literally putting up the walls yourself," she says. With other volunteers, LeBlanc began attending
Lowe's construction workshops for women. In June, the group raised the walls on a house being built with a
Two months after the LeBlanc family moved into Musicians' Village, their home is sparsely furnished, but full of
hope and love. In the room they share, the girls proudly show off their matching beds and dressers, their Dora
the Explorer curtains and spreads. LeBlanc's mattress and box springs sit on the floor, and her clothes are put
away neatly in plastic tubs. It takes time to build and furnish a new life, she says.
"God blessed and guided me," she says with a confident smile. "The path is paved and I'm walking in it."
By Shala Carlson
Habitat for Humanity was a lesson that Daniel Hall learned in school. The recent
graduate started out studying mechanical engineering at Georgia Southern University, Campus
but made a change early on. "I kind of got tired of sitting in front of a computer," he says. Chapters
"It was seeing the construction students out and about and hearing about them working
on Habitat houses--I changed majors immediately, and I've been involved ever since."
That involvement has taken an unexpected turn. As a construction management student Neighbors
at Georgia Southern, Hall's coursework included frequent visits to Habitat for Humanity
Bulloch County build sites in surrounding Statesboro, visits that served as lab work toward course credit. His
experiences also served to set up his first career move: In December, Hall became construction manager for
that same Habitat affiliate that he had helped as a student.
Universities and colleges around the world marshal student volunteers for Habitat projects and promote
involvement through programs such as campus chapters, student-led and -initiated organizations that partner
with their local Habitat affiliates. Schools like Georgia Southern and the local affiliates, however, are finding
additional ways to bring together higher learning and higher purpose, incorporating Habitat involvement into
course work and curricula across the academic spectrum. In fields ranging from the construction trades to
marketing and even physical education, students gain much-needed hands-on experience and course credits,
affiliates benefit from the extra efforts and awareness, and more families find their way to simple, decent,
The most obvious advantage for the students is the educational component. "The most valuable thing, as a
student, was being able to see the structure going up in front of us week to week," Hall says. "We could see it
gradually progress and let it sink in and really understand the principles and concepts that went into the house."
Daniel Hall became a Habitat construction manager after working on site as a student.
At the same time, though, other things also were making an impression. Hall's first real exposure to Habitat
was through his Wood Structures class, he says, and that was the case for most of his fellow students. "The
students were kind of enlightened," he says. "There were a lot who had a different perspective after working on
the houses and seeing the homeowners out here. They came to understand that a Habitat house isn't a
giveaway [but] a helping hand."
Since 2003, says Habitat Bulloch County executive director Vicki Davis, the students' helping hands--15 to 20
students once or twice a week during a semester--have played a big role in keeping the affiliate's construction
schedule on target. "One Saturday's work day is scheduled to finish doing x, y and z, and if it doesn't get
finished, the class has been able to come in and get everything prepped, so that the next Saturday, the
volunteers can come back out, and everything is ready to go."
Looking ahead, Davis hopes that students will be open to a Habitat future, as Hall was. "I'm hoping that when
they graduate and go off to work, they will be involved with Habitat in some way, or at least know enough to
say, 'That's a good program. Let's help out if we can.'"
In British Columbia, Pauline Stevenson has a similar vision of simultaneously building houses and building
Habitat's future. The president of Excel Career College, Stevenson approached longtime friend Jon Toogood,
founder and leader of Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North, to forge a partnership between the affiliate
and the students in Excel's construction program.
"From a purely business standpoint, I'm always trying to figure out how I can provide my students with the best
possible experience," says Stevenson, who serves alongside Toogood on the city of Courtenay's affordable
housing task force. "My first conclusion was that we would build things and take them apart, build them again
and take them apart again. But there's not a whole lot of motivation there. Suddenly all of my hats came
together, and I thought, 'Let's build some real houses for real people.'
"I look out my window, and it's beautiful," Stevenson explains. "People are flocking here; there's a good quality
of life. It's just so fluffy and middle-class and utopian, in many ways. And yet there is a crisis.
"We have families without a roof over their head, and there is zero--absolutely zero--percent vacancy in
"So it's a crisis. It's not a crisis for millions, but it's a crisis for many."
Stevenson's plan is to help solve that crisis by having Excel construction students--approximately 30 builders a
year--participate in Habitat construction, deconstructions and smaller projects such as garden sheds and
playhouses that can be built out of ReStore materials and sold to raise funds. "That's a great learning activity,
too," says Stevenson. "And the fact that we get to use their materials--because it goes back to them worth
something--it doesn't limit what the class can come up with creatively because there is no limit to the materials.
If we can create something that has value and that's a learning activity, there's a huge benefit for Habitat, but a
HUGE benefit for us."
The benefit, though, goes even further in Stevenson's eyes. "I'd like all of the graduates who move into the
trades from Excel Career College to have a legacy," she says. "To drive by and say, 'I built that house. I know
the family that moved into it. And that inspired me.'"
Sweet Briar College students--including business lab CEO Michelle Raymond, second from left--
prepare for a Habitat fund-raising event.
Home Work for Habitat (continued)
As Habitat supporters know, there's more than one way to get a house built. Many schools are finding
ways to academically encourage the involvement of students in programs other than skilled construction
New Hampshire's Dartmouth University, for example, offers students a PE credit, one of three needed to
graduate from the Ivy League school, for volunteering with Upper Valley Habitat for Humanity at least 13 hours
in a term. The program was suggested by the students themselves. "Because students have so many time
commitments, we thought it would be a great idea to allow students to do service and get credits at the same
time," says student chair Jennie Park.
"Because Habitat sitework is physical activity and requires no previous sitework experience, it seemed to be a
natural fit," says Dartmouth adviser Ashley Halpin. "Although Habitat has not had trouble recruiting volunteers
each week, the class offers a broader and sometimes more consistent base of volunteers." More than 100
students signed up for the Habitat PE credit the first time it was offered; subsequent terms have capped the
class at 10 students to keep it logistically feasible.
Other programs pursue other avenues. A business management lab at Virginia's Sweet Briar College has
adopted Amherst County Habitat for Humanity. In the most recent lab, students divided into three teams to
spearhead three separate fund-raising and awareness-building events over the course of the semester. Each
team member served a function, covering everything from accounting and event planning to public relations.
"The purpose of the Habitat for Humanity project," says senior and spring 2007 lab CEO Michelle Raymond, "is
to give students an introductory learning experience simulating real-life management practices in the business
world. The class's contribution to Amherst County Habitat for Humanity is an investment in our community."
"We thought it would be a great idea to allow students to do service and get credit at the
It's also an investment in the professional development of each participant. "From a faculty member's point of
view, it was an exciting semester," says economics and business professor Tom Loftus. "The partnership with
Habitat provides great motivation and incentive for the students, and the lab provides real-world experiences."
In addition to the business management's lab involvement, another group of Sweet Briar students has been
working on an economic impact survey to measure the different ways Habitat has positively impacted the
county, researching the effects on the tax base, the impacts on volunteers and participants, and the lowering of
social costs. "It was such a wonderful experience for the kids to actually get their hands on a project and build
research skills and know that it's going to make a difference," says Melody Gotwalt, the economics and
business instructor spearheading the survey.
Along the same lines, select University of Colorado at Boulder freshmen--a group of scholars from a variety of
disciplines that is designated as the Presidents Leadership Class with a special focus on the theory and
practice of leadership--devoted a semester of community service last spring to Flatirons Habitat for Humanity.
School representatives approached executive director Paul Casey about creating internships for PLC
participants. "To have a nonprofit open its doors to 43 very bright, very motivated students all at one time is
very unusual and very brave," says PLC executive director Barbara Volpe. "I believe that in the period of one
college semester, our students were able to make a very solid contribution to Habitat; Habitat certainly made a
contribution to the leadership development of our students."
"The challenge was how to accommodate that many people," Casey says. "We didn't have a building
opportunity, but we set up different project areas and created a menu of useful projects."That menu was as
varied as the interests of the students themselves. One group focused on marketing plans and even collection
for the affiliate's thrift store, arranging for Habitat to pick up the more than 10,000 pounds of student clothing
and articles left in the dorms at the end of the semester. Other students planned and produced a benefit
concert. Several interns produced a homeowners' association manual for the affiliate, while another compiled a
list of interfaith groups in the area--"an array we would not see in our church list, per se." One group began
developing a new design for the affiliate's Web site, a design still in the implementation stages.
These, says Casey, are concrete examples of the partnership's immediate benefits. The biggest blessings,
however, await. "You never know, projecting out, what the exact outcomes will be, but I have a feeling that this
will be a ripple effect," he says. "I had an opportunity to get in front of a large group of people that are clearly
going to go on and do very good things in their lives and to tell them a little bit about how Habitat really provides
such a tremendous vehicle for social change. I see the possibility of benefits that might not be here yet."