Lauren Ginsberg UGRAD '10
Student Groups Collaborate for Habitat for Humanity Shack-a-Thon
September 29, 2009
Members from three College of Management undergraduate students groups were 'taking care of business' at NC State's annual Shack-a-Thon fundraiser for Wake County Habitat for Humanity.
It was the first time the college was represented at the annual fundraiser that turns a portion of NC State’s Brickyard into a temporary community of student-built (and inhabited) shacks.
Enthusiasm and anticipation for the coming week – during which at least one of the team member had to be present at the shack at all times – was evident on the faces of the College of Management students as they proudly stood in front of their newly-constructed shelter on Monday morning, Sept. 21. They ended the week with $1,435 in donations, earning them second place out of the 15 shacks in the competitive fundraiser. Fundraising continues through 5:00 p.m. Friday, October 2, via an online form. Select the college’s team name – Alpha Kappa Psi/Peer Leaders/COM Ambassadors – to have contributions count toward the students’ goal, which is to finish among the top four of all the teams.
“We came up with the idea (for the structure) on our own,” said Phil Liuzzo, sophomore majoring in business administration, “but the design (of the shack) was a collaboration between Rufty (Custom Home Builders) and the college’s Peer Leaders.” Company owner John Rufty donated the building materials and loaned several of his crew members to help students get off to a good start on their shack-building project. Uniboard, Inc., a particle board company based in Canada, was another main sponsor for the project.
Lauren Ginsberg, a senior in in business administration with a minor in finance and one of the organizers of the student team, said the project “would not have been possible without help from sponsors.”
The students did all the painting and all the work after the donors and sponsors dropped off materials and oriented them to construction processes. One member of the Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity even made his business fraternity’s Greek letters by hand; they were then hung on the front of the shack.
The shack was painted red and white, with a factoid about the Wake County Habitat for Humanity painted onto one of the awnings. A laptop computer resting on the bake sale table outside played the familiar song “Taking Care of Business,” which was also painted on the outside of the shack as a slogan for the College of Management. It also was part of the slogan printed on t-shirts that were being sold from the college’s shack. The full slogan says: “Taking Care of Business since 1992,” which is the year when the college was established.
The student team raised funds for the Habitat cause through various activities – starting with a few shifts of hanging out in the Nelson Commons in sleeping bags, telling students about the upcoming fundraiser and requesting contributions. Along with a week-long bake sale, the student teams held a “Resume Blitz” during which business executives and professionals from the Raleigh area were available for networking and resume evaluation sessions.
Inside the shack, bare walls were decorated with names of students and contributors to the project. Building materials lay on makeshift shelves and sleeping bags were rolled into corners. It looked tiny inside, but Ginsberg said it was “cozy.” Collaboration and teamwork were strong factors that helped in the creation of the shack and the upbeat attitude all around. Three different student organizations within the College of Management (Alpha Kappa Psi, Ambassadors, and Peer Leaders) came together for the project. They hope to have more student organizations involved next year.
The college’s team met with considerable competition on the Brickyard. When asked what the challenges and difficulties of fundraising might be, Ginsberg replied, “Competing with shacks that have been doing this for years and who already have a presence.” Despite that, the students were sure the week’s activity would be fun. Even taking turns to live and sleep in the shack didn’t phase them.Liuzzo called it “an experience, not a challenge” and Ginsberg said that she had “made plans to play cards with the shack next door.”
Students did run into a few obstacles during construction of their shack. Jatinder Singh, junior in business administration, said “the amount of space allotted” – 12 feet by 12 feet – caused difficulties because of the small footprint. .
The actual building itself took place within two hours, with 20 people building and ten people painting. “We had a good turn out and were able to (build) really fast,” Singh said. He had to leave early. though he wished he could have stayed longer. James Robinson, sophomore in accounting, said the students worked “as a team and (got) to know each other while helping out the community. “We worked really hard for this,” he said.
The decision to get involved with Shack-A-Thon was not difficult. Liuzzo said he had been involved with Habitat for Humanity in high school and had done other service work at State. He enjoyed “working with (his) hands.”
The College of Management students focused on being friendly and enthusiastic to help draw as many fellow students and potential donors to their shack. Clarissa Beaty, sophomore in accounting, when told of the college’s involvement. said she thought “It’s a good experience and it’s always good to give to the needy.” She said she would consider taking part next year and she would let people know that the College of Management was involved this year.
Lauren Ginsberg UGRAD '10