USC volunteers, proceeds help rehabilitate Habitat for Humanity House

ccope@thestate.comNovember 15, 2013 

Amy Hebert, a University of South Carolina graduate student, helps paint a fence for a Habitat for Humanity home in Columbia, Friday, November 15, 2013. Hebert is pictured with fellow graduate students Jacob Weatherly and Joseph Schmelzle.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com Buy Photo

— Lots of University of South Carolina students weren’t willing to hop out of bed early Friday to work on a Habitat for Humanity house, like Amy Hebert did.

But they still contributed to the effort, just by donating their unwanted dorm-room furnishings for resale at the end of the semester.

Hebert, an accounting graduate student, stayed up until 1 a.m. Friday grading papers before getting up for her volunteer shift at the house, built in 2008 for one Habitat family and being redone for another that is now moving in, thanks to help from USC.

“This is definitely manageable, even though it’s early in the morning,” said Hebert, who volunteered with a group of friends. “I can paint a fence.”

The money for the rehabilitation came from the university’s annual Give it Up for Good yard sale at the end of the school year. Students who live in residence halls donate the items they no longer want as they are moving out – old printers, televisions, lamps and other dormitory furnishings.

Those items are then sold at a yard sale, and the leftovers are donated to the local Habitat ReStore, which raised about $10,000 over the past two years for the rehabilitation of the house, according to Margaret Bounds, coordinator of environmental sustainability for the university’s housing department.

The goal is to make enough money to pay for a rehabilitation every year, she said.

The renovation involves putting down new carpet, new appliances and painting the house’s exterior, fence and rooms.

Prior to being coated with new paint, one room was really orange, Bounds said.

“Like Clemson orange,” she said – not the best color for a group of Gamecock volunteers.

But now the rooms are neutral colors, ready for the new owner to decorate.

“Home ownership is something so important to American society,” said Jacob Weatherly, also a USC graduate student who helped paint a fence Friday.

Volunteers help keep the costs down for someone who might not have otherwise been able to afford a home, he said.

Matthew Henrickson, who works for Habitat for Humanity, said college students are good volunteers because they tend to have open minds and are willing to do the work, even if they don’t have experience with things like painting and hammering.

The partnership works on USC’s end as well, Bounds said, allowing the university’s housing department to support community housing, too.

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