BY HUANBING XU, First-Year Communications Intern
Duke University’s Office of Durham and Community Affairs has committed to double its ongoing support of Habitat for Humanity of Durham through an annual gift of $25,000 to the organization’s Duke student chapter. The funding will come in the form of a matching gift, with Duke students committed to raising the remaining $25,000 needed to build one home per year.
“Duke has been a proud Habitat partner for more than a decade, providing funding and volunteer support to build and repair dozens of homes in the Walltown and West End neighborhoods,” said Sam Miglarese, Director of Community Engagement with the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership.
“We’re thrilled to be able to broaden our partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Durham and with the Duke students who have worked so hard to expand the impact of their campus chapter.”
The Duke Habitat chapter has grown during the past few years from a small club to one of the most prominent service organizations on campus. The student leaders have established a tutoring and mentoring program for Habitat homeowners, re-established the tradition of a Habitat spring break “Collegiate Challenge,” and been formally recognized by Habitat for Humanity International as an official campus chapter.
Lauren Kottis, 2010-11 co-president of the Duke Habitat chapter, said she began working with the group as a volunteer coordinator a couple of years ago. Because the group did not have a steady funding stream, they could commit to build a Duke Habitat house only every other year.
“We were constantly scrambling to find other Habitat houses where we could send student volunteers,” Kottis said. “Sometimes we couldn’t find spots at all and had to tell students that we were sorry, but had nothing available that week.”
Beginning in Fall 2011, the new support from Duke’s Office of Durham and Regional Affairs will allow the Duke Habitat chapter to build one home every academic year. And with half of their annual fundraising burden lifted, the organization will devote more time to recruiting volunteers and educating the Duke community on the importance of affordable housing initiatives.