Habitat launches drive to build home for Buffalo family


Reporter Staff

ALTHOUGH MANY activities are being sponsored by the university during its year-long Sesquicentennial Celebration, one special project is likely to still be around for the university's Bicentennial and beyond.

The Buffalo and UB Chapters of Habitat for Humanity recently launched a year-long effort to raise $50,000. The money, as well as student, faculty and staff person-power, will go toward building a new home for a needy Buffalo family.

The campus chapter of Habitat, together with the Student Association, the Golden Key Society and other student groups, will be conducting a variety of fund-raising activities during the coming year and recruiting hard-working UB students and staff to construct the home for a yet unnamed Buffalo family, according to Director of Student Life Barbara Ricotta.

The highlight of the fund-raising efforts should come next October, over Parents Weekend '96, according to Ricotta, when comedian Paula Poundstone will entertain and donate the proceeds of the concert to the Habitat project. Project construction should begin later this year, with a ribbon cutting ceremony planned for Commencement '97.

Habitat for Humanity is a 20-year-old philanthropic organization that is dedicated to helping poor families realize the dream of home ownership. Habitat raises money, gathers supplies and organizes volunteer labor for home construction or renovation. The homeowner must qualify financially and contribute "sweat equity" of at least 500 hours toward their own home. Among the more noted Habitat volunteers is former President Jimmy Carter.

The Buffalo chapter of Habitat has constructed 10 homes and rehabilitated another 25 since 1985. Students and staff have contributed to these projects through the UB student chapter, now co-chaired by Charles Drumstra. "Habitat gives people a means to learn new skills and help the community," said Drumstra, "but the best part is meeting new people and helping your neighbors." The chapter has about 20 active members, explained Drumstra, but draws from more than 200 volunteers for various projects during the year.

This winter, during the semester break, eight UB students, including Drumstra, traveled to Robbins, Tenn. to spend a week working at a Habitat site. The trip was part of Habitat's national Collegiate Challenge, explained Drumstra. College students are "challenged" to pass up a winter or spring trip to a sunny Florida beach, instead going to work on a Habitat project somewhere. "Habitat finds places for you to stay and takes care of your food, and you put in a good hard week of work. It's a great feeling," said Drumstra.

Also, students are traveling from the North Campus to a downtown Habitat warehouse every Saturday. "We are helping inventory things and get the warehouse organized," Drumstra explained.

Members of the campus Habitat chapter are now selling raffle tickets, according to Drumstra, with prizes that include a Sabres jersey autographed by Pat LaFontaine and a football autographed by Jim Kelly. "Also, we will be taking qualifiers soon in the Student Union for a 'Drive a Nail, Win a Bike' contest," he explained. Students will be able to be timed to see how fast they can drive a nail into wood, with a "nail-off" planned for the fastest qualifiers.

Members of the campus community are invited to contribute financially or personally to the Habitat Sesquicentennial Project. Those interested can contact Amy Krakowiak at 645-6125 or stop by the Habitat office at 370 Student Union. Donations to the project are tax deductible and may be made payable to the UB Foundation.

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