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Shantytown fundraiser increases awareness

Shantytown 2011
Students work together as they build makeshift houses from cardboard boxes and duct tape.

UNG's Habitat for Humanity chapter will host the annual Shantytown fundraiser beginning at 5 p.m. Oct. 2 on the Gen. William "Lipp" Livsey Drill Field. Students can "rent" plots and purchase cardboard boxes and duct tape to construct "shanties" in which to spend the evening. The event also will feature live entertainment. Dr. Steven Lloyd, a faculty adviser for UNG's Habitat chapter, talks about the event and the student chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The event was rescheduled from the original date of Sept. 25 due to rain.

 

What is the purpose of Shantytown?

Shantytown is an experiential learning event. It gives students the opportunity to spend a night in substandard housing conditions and realize that it is a real, daily struggle for people all over the world. Shantytown is also a fundraiser that helps finance service projects for the UNG chapter and serves as an opportunity for students to learn more about Habitat and consider joining the organization, either as a volunteer or a service learner, in the mission to eradicate substandard living conditions.

How does the UNG chapter influence the university and the community?

UNG's Habitat for Humanity chapter has received a number of small grants recently, including $5,000 from State Farm Insurance last year, that have helped fund several service projects. The chapter does not yet have the resources to build houses, so instead students perform minor repair projects monthly. The campus chapter has a multitude of needs, so a range of involvement, from volunteering to management and acquisition of resources, is available.

The UNG chapter, based on the Dahlonega Campus, works very closely with Lumpkin County's Habitat chapter, which has gained momentum in recent years. In the Lumpkin County area, there are many homeowners who suddenly become incapacitated or are unable to maintain their homes; UNG Habitat, as it operates now, can help repair roofs or install wheelchair ramps to make subpar residences livable again.

What are the goals for the chapter?

Habitat for Humanity is known for building houses, so that is the ultimate goal of the campus chapter. Once they secure enough donations of land, skills and resources they can take steps toward that goal. As the number of homes built increases, so does the amount of money Habitat brings in which, in turn, allows them to build more homes.

For the time being, the UNG chapter is most in need of participation. There is a lot of help needed and so much room to grow in the north Georgia area; the biggest factor in expansion to meet the needs of the community will be faculty and student initiative. Meetings of UNG's Habitat chapter are held on the Dahlonega Campus in Barnes Hall, every third Friday from noon to 1 p.m. during the meeting hour.

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