University of Wisconsin–Stout’s Habitat for Humanity chapter has been busy this past year. The organization volunteers their time and talents to building homes for the homeless, educates the campus and community about homelessness and affordable housing issues, and raises funds for the work of Habitat for Humanity. As their chapter website states, “Our mission, as a campus chapter, is to capture the imagination, energy and hope of students and faculty of University of Wisconsin–Stout to productively and responsibly involve them in the work of Habitat for Humanity.”
Brandon Elrick, secretary of Habitat for Humanity, is one of the members hosting the event. “One of our major fundraising items this year was the ‘Buy a Brick, Build a Home.’ We did this at some of the sporting events on campus where we sold paper bricks and attached them to the house we cut out of a sheet of plywood. This was our biggest fundraising work for the year. Other fundraising that Habitat does is ‘Weenies for the Wasted’ and also doing some yard work and small home repairs,” said Elrick.
The org has been active in more than just Wisconsin. This year for spring break, 28 students from the Stout chapter joined another Habitat chapter and went to Houston, Texas to help with the hurricane aftermath. “We worked on deconstructing houses that people donated to Habitat and salvaging any items that could still be reused. Along with the deconstruction, we also worked on new construction and home repairs. Some of the work we did was laying sod, painting, framing a new house and finishing trim work. The spring break trip was a lot of fun for everyone, and we hope to have even more people join in on it for next year,” said Elrick.
During fall, the group also works with other Habitat chapters in the Twin Cities. “We do a lot of similar work in the cities as we do on the spring break trip, just in a shorter amount of time,” Elrick said. A little closer to home, Habitat for Humanity has worked directly in Menomonie, and there is another house being built soon near Eau Claire in summer and fall.
The Stout Habitat chapter wants to continue to grow with new members so that they will be able to get more work done and ultimately help more people. “Giving back to the community and helping each other is the main idea of what our group is all about,” Elrick said.