During fall break, some students may be heading to the beach or visiting family members, but for one group of WKU students and faculty the scene this week will include nails, hammers and saws as they rebuild a community devastated by tornadoes.
Six members of WKU Habitat for Humanity will be heading to West Liberty on Thursday-Saturday (Oct. 4-6) to assist with the rebuilding of homes destroyed by tornadoes that swept through eastern Kentucky on March 2.
Participants include faculty members Bryan Reaka and Jack Rudolph and students Jeffry Edwards, a junior architectural sciences major from Murray; Missy Graehler, a sophomore social work major from Lexington; Cassie Kulig, a freshman graphic design major from Bardstown; and Mary Kathryn Smith, a freshman news editorial journalism major from Louisville.
The Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Rowan and Menifee counties are building high energy efficient homes to exceed standards set by Energy Star and are assisting the community in rebuilding hope for the future.
In addition to fall break, the WKU Habitat chapter sends students on Habitat Collegiate Challenge trips during winter and spring break as well as a trip after the spring semester in May. In 2009, WKU was named one of the top five campus chapters for Habitat Collegiate Challenges.
The alternative break trips are a positive outreach for the WKU Habitat chapter and WKU as a whole, Reaka said. “The participants are ambassadors for the University, showing WKU in a positive light during school breaks,” he said.
The trips are a way for students to gain practical knowledge as well as leadership capabilities. Each WKU team has a student leader and a faculty/staff leader. “By putting students in leadership roles, they make the calls, arrange the facilities, organize the activities and take responsibility for the projects,” Reaka said.
Each break trip is different and job tasks will vary by the needs of the local affiliate and may include building homes or doing other work like roofing, painting or landscaping. At the end of each day, the WKU team members will spend time discussing that day’s work and what they’ve experienced.
More information about the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity is available online at http://www.wku.edu/habitat/
Contact: Bryan Reaka, (270) 745-7032.