Eighteen Lakeland College students and two staff members recently spent their spring break week in North Carolina, working with Habitat for Humanity on five different construction sites over four days.
"The students really appreciate the ability to do hands-on work that impacts the lives of others in a very positive way," said Lakeland Vice President of Student Development and Athletics Nate Dehne, who serves as advisor for Lakeland's chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
Dehne said at one of the sites, Lakeland's students worked alongside the future owner of the home.
"The woman who will be moving in was painting with us, and she said to one of our students, 'Every time I walk in the door, I will think to myself, Anna Faust from Wisconsin painted that door!'" Dehne said. "I think that's heartwarming, and provides clarity for why we do this.
"I'm really proud of our students. They could have done a lot of different things over Spring Break, but they chose to give those things up to work hard and help others. That's really neat."
The Lakeland contingent traveled to Wisconsin in a mini-bus and a mini-van, then stayed in Chapel Hill, N.C., and worked on construction of deconstruction sites in and around Durham, N.C.
Lakeland's affiliation with Habitat for Humanity has spanned decades. In the prior three years, Dehne said, Lakeland has worked with Habitat for Humanity in Lexington, Ky.; New Orleans and Springfield, Mo.
"I sent an email out thanking the students who participated this year, and one student wrote me back and expressed how happy she was that she went," said Dehne.
"She said the people she met, the experiences she had; none of that would have happened had she not had the courage to make this commitment. That's a cool thing. I think our students really get a sense of the impact they're having."