Mercyhurst’s Habitat for Humanity club once again has the opportunity to run their annual Rent-A Habitator event this fall. The event is a way for Mercyhurst students to get involved in the community by assisting faculty and staff with yard work or home repairs in exchange for donations to the club.
This helps the club members to develop their skills before serving the wider community as part of local builds or spring break trips, and also helps to raise the funds needed to organize said trips.
“Rent-a-Habitator is an event we run every year where we pro-vide volunteers to Mercyhurst staff members who need a little extra help around their house,” Marina Delmore, senior Intelligence Studies major and vice president of the Habitat for Humanity Club, said. “These jobs typically consist of raking leaves, cleaning up a yard or gardens, or whatever the staff member needs us to do.”
Activities vary each year, and while there are usually indoor cleanups or building projects, precautions were taken this year which mandated that all projects be outdoor work only. “Some activities could be yard work, painting, or anything along those lines. Then in doing so, the volunteers are paid for the work and that money goes back to the club for future projects or the spring trip,” said Abby Springer, Rent-a-Habitator Coordinator. Springer also spoke to just how the club goes about setting up the entire process. “Professors sign up for certain days and times, then students go to their house to perform volunteer activities. [We] make sure that the professors that signed up get volunteers, place the volunteers at a site and make sure they have a way to and from the site,” said Springer.
The club leadership has been careful to make the necessary adjustments to allow for following the proper COVID-19 guidelines this year.“This year we were unsure if this event was even going to happen, but we got approval and are going to be very COVID conscious. The staff has been made aware that the jobs that are asked of us are to be strictly outside. Students will have to wear their masks at all times during the event, and we encourage all those who sign up to volunteer with a roommate, team-mate, or a member of their ‘pod’ to prevent people mixing too much with those they would not regularly see,” said Delmoro. Additionally, staff members to sign up for volunteers have been asked to think of projects that allow for social distancing. As stated, the goal of the event is to gain funds for both club activities and the annual spring break trip that the club takes.
“This event is one of Habitat for Humanity’s biggest fundraisers and the money raised typically goes toward the club’s spring trip. This year we are unable to do our trip due to COVID,” said Beady Titus, co-treasurer and fundraising coordinator. “That said, we still plan to raise money this year to help out the club next year, when we hope to take another big trip to a city in need.”With the cancellation of the spring trip this year, funds raised will be helpful for the club’s trip next year, especially as fundraising for all charities has been difficult this year.“[It’s] unfortunate this year’s trip was canceled but for the next trip, we will have a good amount of funding to play around with,” Delmoro said. Past locations for trips have included Alabama, North Carolina, and most recently, South Carolina.
Volunteering for the Rent-a-Habitator event is a perfect opportunity for students to become more involved while contributing to a good cause. It is also a great way to become acquainted with faculty members that you haven’t had the opportunity to meet yet.“I have previously volunteered at many professors’ houses. I enjoy just being off-campus and seeing/meeting new professors and being able to see them in a non-educational setting. It is also nice to give back to the community,” Springer said.“I enjoy getting to know the Mercyhurst staff more and more every time I volunteer,” said Delmoro. “In my experience, the staff member always gets involved with us when we are helping them out, so I enjoy just talking and learning about their experiences. I also enjoy the satisfying feeling of helping someone out who needed help.”
The event began this past weekend and will continue to take place over the first two weekends in November. Volunteer times will run from either 11 a.m.-1 p.m. or 1 p.m.-3 p.m. on both Saturdays and Sun-days. The following dates are still available for volunteers to sign up: Nov. 7, Nov. 8, Nov. 13, and Nov. 14. Anyone can sign up, so you do not have to be a club member or be planning to go on a spring break trip. In addition, anyone who needs service hours should consider volunteering with Habitat in order to fulfill service requirements.
As well as Rent-a-Habitator, the Habitat for Humanity Club will host an on-campus service event in cooperation with the Mercyhurst Student Government. This will be a campus clean-up event on Nov. 8 from 12-2 p.m.Students interested in volunteering can reach out to president Marina Boyle or VP Marina Delmoro for more information or get involved. Those specifically hoping to volunteer for Rent-a-Habitator can get the signup link from Abby Springer. Any staff or faculty hoping to secure some volunteers to beautify their home can check past is-sues of the Morning Buzz for the Rent-a-Habitator link, or contact club advisor, Jeremy Hewitt.