First BGSU Builds Habitat for Humanity site ‘right on track’
By Alex Sciranka
Bowling Green State University and Habitat for Humanity of Wood County Ohio Inc. recently celebrated the groundbreaking for the first of three homes in the BGSU Builds project. This is the first Habitat site located within the City of Bowling Green, at the corner of Clough Street and Manville Avenue.
According to Mark Ohashi, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Wood County, the build is “right on track” with several volunteer groups from BGSU and the community having already put in more than 300 hours of service to the build.
“Volunteering gives me a feeling of accomplishment and plants a seed of self-value,” said Sacoiya Johnson, a liberal studies major at BGSU. “You do not have to be the greatest to do great things, but you do not have to be close to someone to make an impact in their lives.”
With the help of other volunteers, Johnson volunteered several hours of her time in September assisting with wall installation. Some volunteer groups include BGSU Athletics, the Chapman Learning Community, AIMS, BG Aktion and the Supply Chain Management Association.
“The build has been moving exceptionally well with very cooperative weather,” Ohashi said. “We have the exterior walls of the home completed and the interior walls will be installed Saturday Oct. 6.”
The BGSU Builds project, which began August 13, is a three-year partnership between BGSU and Habitat for Humanity of Wood County Ohio. During this period, three homes will be constructed within walking distance of the Bowling Green campus.
Students, faculty and staff will construct, fundraise and coordinate the builds while also learning about housing and poverty-related issues. This partnership presents a unique opportunity to take learning out of the classroom and into the community.
The collaboration of BGSU and Habitat for Humanity creates a strong “relationship between our campus and our greater BG community,” said Dr. Brett Holden, academic affairs coordinator of Learning Communities. “All the while, we are exploring serious social issues and challenges and helping contribute to solutions.”
Holden said that the BGSU Builds project is an excellent example of community partnership work and acts as an effective tool for leading Chapman Learning Community students through the “Six Pillars of Service Learning” on which the community is founded: community partnership identification, mutually beneficial needs assessment, project planning and execution, debriefing and reflection.
In exploring the importance of volunteer service, Ohashi said that “volunteers provide the vehicle to move a mission forward.” The BGSU Builds project would not be off to such an impressive start without the support of the volunteers who take the time out of their schedules to lend a hand.