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UB students help raise first homes for Buffalo families

Many local families, often facing tremendous personal obstacles, have realized the dream of moving into their own homes, with the help of hundreds of UB students over the past two decades working with Habitat for Humanity.

“It’s important that we as students and members of the Buffalo community help give back as well as learn the skills that we do. It’s important for students to realize that Buffalo is more than just the campus they live on and attend classes.” Courtney Creenan
MArch/MUP degree candidate
Three-year Habitat program participant

A total of 48 houses will have been built by spring 2010 on Buffalo's East Side and Riverside areas and in Lackawanna.

Richard Yencer, the School of Architecture and Planning's instructional support technician who has directed the program since its inception, says the program makes a big impression on students for both on-the-job education and community engagement.

Alumnus Loi Tran, MArch ’06, was part of several builds as a UB student. He says he was so inspired by the program that he plans to take time from his job at a Binghamton architectural firm to join volunteers from the U.S. and Canada to work for Habitat for Humanity International on a project in Vietnam. “It’s not only educational, but you are also helping to improve someone else’s life,” he said.

The students are enrolled in a course in building and construction that is offered every year by the School of Architecture and Planning. The teams of scholar-builders are from the school, as well as a variety of departments across the university.

Brian Carter, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, cites the course for the role it plays in helping students develop clearer understandings of the value and importance of community service.

“It demonstrates how good design can improve the quality of life for anyone and everyone," he says, "and is one way for students to learn to give and feel the joy that accompanies that act of service.”


A gallery of UB’s Habitat for Humanity program over the past decade

UB students raise their 41st Buffalo home for Habitat for Humanity
Architecture course blends hands-on instruction and community service

UB architecture students and community build straw greenhouse in city
Straw-bale construction benefits Buffalo community organization

School of Architecture and PlanningSchool of Architecture and Planning