Tue Sep 14, 2010
ASB. They are three letters you have seen around campus the past few weeks on newspaper articles, advertisements, fliers, and Facebook pages and events. You tipped generously at the Bog and Rocky’s Sports Bar, ate Fabio Buffa’s famous spaghetti at the Delt’s house, bought gourmet baked goods and Krispy Kreme donuts. After the past few weeks of your assistance and this group’s hard work fundraising, it’s time to report to you about the 24 students and 3 staff members that ventured down to Middle Georgia on IIT’s Alternative Spring Break to build houses for Habitat for Humanity. Bright, but not blindingly early on Sunday morning the group met at SSV North with duffle bags, sleeping bags and exciting expectations as to how this trip would unravel. By 9:30 a.m. they journeyed on the L to Midway Airport, some singing loudly on the train, already creating an excellent atmosphere for this trip. Fortunately (for the optimistic) the airplane ride was only half of the course of getting to Georgia. They flew into Nashville, TN, the “Country Music Capital of the World” where they borrowed four 12-passenger vans to create a cruise control caravan down to Warner Robins, Georgia. The students previously gathered a 120 song playlist contained on eight CDs to accompany their ears, ranging from every genre. The ride took five hours, multiple CD switches, and endless amusement at the southern accents, but by 1:00 a.m. EST they arrived at Shirley Hills Baptist Church. Built in 2006, the Christian Life Center was designed to suit young students and adults as a welcoming place to hang out, as well as to host groups such as IIT ASB for living. Cots were generously donated for each person to sleep on. They were quickly set up and used as everyone headed to bed to rest for their first day of work on Monday. Rebuilding Together teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to supply more work for all 27 students throughout the week. Rebuilding Together is a national nonprofit, free of charge organization that rehabilitates homes for low-income homeowners, particularly the elderly and those with disabilities. The sites were referred to by their street name and required various types of work: · ‘Virginia’ was a day care center run in a garage of a woman’s house which needed a lot of interior cleaning, drywall patching, and reinforcing a step leading from the hose to the garage. (Rebuilding Together) · ‘Elberta’ was the home of an elderly woman that needed exterior painting, caulking, repainting and replacing the interior kitchen cabinets, as well as repainting the bedroom walls. (Rebuilding Together) · ‘Orchard Way’ was a newly built home that needed interior painting and electrical work. (Habitat for Humanity) · At ‘Smith Court’ aka ‘Ramp Kool-house,’ students built a wheelchair accessible ramp with rails, spread dirt in front yard to even it out, replaced rotten floorboards in the kitchen and utility room, made two bathrooms handicap accessible, and replaced bathtub/shower with handicap shower. (Rebuilding Together) · ‘Demetree’ was the house of an elderly woman that needed exterior painting, caulking, and interior painting to be done. (Rebuilding Together) · ‘Laura’ was the house of an elderly woman that needed interior painting and an old radiator removed from a 3 foot by 3 foot hole in the middle of her hallway; reinforcement and recovering of the hole was also required. (Rebuilding Together) Even though every morning had an earlier wake-up call than the next, there was no complaining and the IIT students and staff’s astonishing work ethic came like a breeze. Each work day lasted from about 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., leaving the second half of the day for the students to nap, socialize, read, catch up on homework, or exert even more energy through competitive games of volleyball and ultimate Frisbee. Multiple meals were sponsored or held for the IIT group. The church held a potluck dinner the first night in Warner Robins; the food being one of the best meals most of these students ever had. Wednesday night the Church congregation gathered for a Passover Sader dinner to educate those about Passover. One of the dinners, from the Waffle House, a popular restaurant chain in the southern United States, was brought to the church by some of the students who made a breakfast dinner (waffles, eggs, hash browns) for all 27 students on the trip. It was a pleasant surprise to those who wondered about this secret dinner being prepared in the kitchen. Most of the lunches on site were donated by volunteers in Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together, and Latter Day Saints Church. The dynamic of the group was phenomenal. Tuesday night a large reflection circle took place where almost everyone admitted to feeling as if they’d been friends forever. It was a diverse group of all ages and majors and everyone got along with each other. A lot of students stayed up until almost 4 a.m. many nights talking about everything imaginable. Frank Karioris from IIT’s Housing & Residential Services said, “As a staff member, it was astonishing how open everyone in the group was and how quickly I was allowed in to the jokes, laughter, hugs, and all around friendship. It is something that is often so hard to find, but I saw a group of people willing to open their lives up to anyone willing to do the same.” There were many things scheduled to do during the week not including the site jobs. A trip to Good Will was in play that included multiple fashion shows and laughs. One morning Macy Love, a recruiter for the Air Logistics Centre, put on an excellent presentation on what it takes to be in the Federal Government working as an engineer. That was followed by an hour in the Warner Robins Air Force Museum. A few lucky architecture and civil engineer students got to talk with Warner Robins Air Force base architects about their jobs, a very appreciated opportunity. The last day the students split up in to different groups, seven of them taking a trip to Macon, Georgia, a little city in Middle Georgia. Friday night almost half the students pulled all-nighters and watched a scary movie in one of the class rooms. An all-nighter was called for considering the departure time from the church was 4 AM the next day for the five hour trek back to the Nashville airport. It may have also been in denial of the amazing alternative spring break trip coming to its end. Dark and early on Saturday morning, the vans were loaded and 23 pairs of eyes immediately closed as the cruise control caravan pulled away from Shirley Hills Baptist Church. Everyone hung on to the last hours they had with the group together; the drive to Nashville, the airport wait, airplane ride and CTA ride home. After the conversation from Tuesday, you can only imagine how wrapped everyone was around each other’s lives by Saturday. Alternative Spring Break really describes how this trip was for everyone. Everyone “sacrificed” their spring break for what would be described as an even better opportunity. Fourth-year architecture student Ryan Bloom explains, “While others might be at home relaxing or going on a trip to some cool place, we get it all… a chance to relax from school, the opportunity to help a community, a way to get healthier by doing physical work, some really fun times with friends, and the chance to experience things that some people don’t get the chance to experience.” Stay tuned next year for ASB ’11 opportunities and your chance to apply. It’s an excellent chance to meet and spend time with students you would never see in your class rooms, and even outside of them. “This trip was one of the most rewarding IIT experiences I have had in 4 years. It was an incredible opportunity to meet people and make deep friendships. This program is almost entirely student organized and executed, and it was really neat seeing our hard work pay off in so many ways. Seeing the faces of those in the community that we helped really showed me how much of an impact we can make.” – Josh Bradley, 4th year Civil Engineer student Special thanks go to: Rocky’s Sports Bar, Dining Services, Subway, Atlas Rent-a-Car, Borders, Mother Butter’s, IIT ACappella, All online donors, Stephanie Harmon, Jerry Doyle, Megan French of Habitat for Humanity, Jerome Stephens and Tom Prior of Rebuilding Together, Laura Guidici, plus many, many more for making this trip possible.
2010 - Spring - Issue 8