The University of North Georgia's (UNG) Habitat for Humanity chapter raised $800 in its Sept. 17 Shantytown event, which is held each year on the university's Dahlonega Campus to bring attention to the issue of substandard housing.
Held on the Gen. William J. "Lipp" Livsey Drill Field, Shantytown gives students the opportunity to build structures out of cardboard and duct tape. Students can then sleep in their shanties overnight and experience what it is like to live in substandard housing. They also participate in Minute to Win it games and compete in a cardboard costume contest during the event, while listening to live bands.
"Because Habitat's mission is to build or repair houses for people in need, having students construct and sleep in shanties allows them to experience what many people across the nation struggle with on a daily basis," said Clare Powell, president of UNG Habitat for Humanity.
The objective of Shantytown aligns with the university's mission of service-learning. Through UNG's service-learning activities, students apply academic knowledge to practical community needs and have the opportunity to develop valuable skills and experience.
"Habitat for Humanity provides students the opportunity to actively participate in the community by improving the housing conditions of Lumpkin County residents who are in need or providing homes for those without," Powell said. "Through repair days, students learn about the needs of the community while making a positive difference in the lives of Lumpkin families."
UNG's chapter of Habitat for Humanity raised $800 during the event, with $500 of that donated from the College of Education, said Dr. Cindy Smatt, faculty advisor for the organization. UNG's Habitat for Humanity will use these funds to further their work in the community to provide repairs to local houses.
"The UNG chapter, based on the Dahlonega Campus, works very closely with Lumpkin County's Habitat chapter to help repair roofs or install wheelchair ramps to make subpar residences in Lumpkin County livable again. The campus chapter has a multitude of needs, so a range of involvement, from volunteering to management and acquisition of resources, is available," Smatt said.
Dozens of students participated in the event. Each year, Habitat for Humanity presents the Golden Hammer awards. The organization awards a first and second place hammer to two separate divisions: Greek and non-Greek.
At this year's event, for the Greek division, Sigma Nu won first place for a shanty designed as a shoe - presented as a "shnu," and Phi Sigma Pi won second place for a castle shanty. In the non-Greek division, Honors Hall won first for their igloo shanty, and Charlie Smith won second for his Texas Longhorns-inspired shanty.
Delta Zeta won the cardboard costume contest with their three-person caterpillar that transformed into a butterfly.