URI students to help build Katrina house, Sept. 18

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Students to frame doorways, window on Quad

KINGSTON, R.I.– September 14, 2006 — Katrina was the costliest and one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history. One year later, the Gulf Coast still struggles to rebuild.

In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, the University of Rhode Island’s Clearinghouse for Volunteers swung into action to coordinate a fundraising effort to support the rebuilding. To date, more than $35,000 of the $70,000 needed has been raised by the University community to purchase a Habitat for Humanity International “House in a Box.” Student groups raised the bulk of the money by holding fundraisers throughout the academic year. South County Habitat and Providence Habitat, with the help of a local restaurant, raised the other half. The funding covers materials, management and other costs. Labor is mainly volunteer, which results in considerable savings.

On Sept. 18 the house will begin to take shape. That’s when University students will swing hammers and pound nails on the University’s Quad to frame windows, doors, corner pieces, and other framing elements. On Oct. 7 in Providence, exterior and interior wall components will be constructed and assembled. The house will have to be partly disassembled to be shipped to the Gulf, where it will be rebuilt on site.

Two shifts of 15 students will do the actual building while other members of the URI community are being encouraged to observe and cheer. Donors who have already contributed are invited to sign the 2 x 4s that will be used.

The first shift of students will prepare the worksite by constructing workstations from noon to 2 p.m. The second shift will build the components of the actual house from 2 to 4 p.m. The rain date is the following day, Sept. 15.

The finished components will be taken to Providence where construction will continue at the Fleet Skating Center.

“I’m so impressed with the URI students and community for the way everyone came together to raise funds. I’m excited about the build and expect it to be an inspiring event for us all,” says Merith Weisman-Ross, coordinator of URI’s Feinstein Center for Service Learning. The Center oversees URI’s Clearinghouse for Volunteers.

“We were very pleased to be able to join forces with the URI community to participate in Habitat’s “Operation Home Delivery” program, says Louis A. Raymond, executive director, South County Habitat for Humanity. “Through the enthusiasm and energy of URI students, working together with Habitat supporters and friends, Rhode Island will be represented among those contributing Habitat homes to help Katrina victims.”

View a news report of this event (ABC6).