Wednesday, April 6, 2011
More than 50 Westminster College students participated in three Spring Break work trips March 12-20.
Two groups from Westminster's chapter of Habitat for Humanity participated in Habitat's Collegiate Challenge.
Dr. Jacque King, Westminster assistant professor of business and Habitat adviser, accompanied a group of 17 to Mt. Airy, N.C. They finished four sheds started by another group the week before and started work on a future Habitat homeowner's site.
King said many of the students start with Habitat as freshmen and continue to volunteer throughout their college career, developing skills that rival those of professionals.
"They come in with a wealth of knowledge," King said. "Most of them have done flooring, siding, roofing, painting. It just amazes me."
"Their devotion to helping others is humbling," King added. "They say, ‘It's not about me, it's about somebody else.'"
The second Habitat group of 19 traveled to Raleigh, N.C., with Carey Anne M. LaSor, Westminster assistant to the chaplain.
The group was hosted by the Ebenezer United Methodist Church while working with Wake County Habitat on two homes.
"If there was any theme on this trip, it would be ‘gratitude,' for we received overwhelming welcome and hospitality from our hosts," LaSor said. "It was a combination of learning the realities of the housing situation in Wake County, the reason we were working in the neighborhood where we were, and comparing that to where we were staying."
"Many of the students were truly struck with the need to appreciate what they have and how little they have to work for what they want," LaSor added. "They worked hard for someone else to have something they dreamed of - a home - and that truth really sunk in. That was a great reward for me to see as their leader and as someone dedicated to the work of Habitat for Humanity."
The third trip was hosted by the Presbyterian Church on Edisto Island, S.C., as they worked with the Edisto Island Mission. The group included 17 students; the Rev. Jim Mohr, Westminster chaplain; Dr. Amy Camardese, associate professor and chair of Westminster's Department of Education; and volunteers Angie Mohr and Dan Urban. Their projects included putting on a new roof and replacing a bathroom floor.
Freshman Rachael Wetzel, a veteran of five Habitat trips, was on her first Westminster work trip. With previous experience laying shingles, she was part of Team Roof and also helped with dinner.
"I went because I hope to spend my future summers traveling and doing mission work in different places," Wetzel said. "I feel giving back to the community in money is very helpful, but nothing can compare to physical labor, where the donation is concrete."
"I learned a lot about patience, working with a large group who had never roofed before," Wetzel added. "It was very beneficial to learn how to teach others and to know when to step back. With all the new people, it was very rewarding to finally finish the roof."
Contact Westminster's Chapel Office at (724) 946-7117 for additional information.
About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster is a top tier liberal arts college, a national leader in graduation rate performance, and a "Great School, Great Price," according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 38th among liberal arts colleges, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 373 Colleges" and "Best in the Northeast" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.
Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.