Traveling to Florida for spring break is anything but stereotypical for 127 college students from eight universities who choose to spend their time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County rather than enjoy the sun and fun of the Tampa Bay area beaches.
Nearly 30 volunteers from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and Widener University near Philadelphia worked on Habitat homes in Clearwater last week as part of the national Collegiate Challenge program which runs between February 26 and April 6.
Other volunteers include students from Indiana University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, University of Maryland at College Park, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and University of Minnesota.
“After nearly a decade of hosting students during their spring break, we look forward to the enthusiasm and energy they bring to our build sites each year," said Habitat Pinellas Volunteer Coordinator Kevin Klukas. "The work they do helping to build affordable housing during their Spring Break will have a lasting impact in our community.”
For the past 23 years, more than 194,000 students have spent their Spring Break volunteering across the country through this program.
This year’s Collegiate Challenge program is helping to build Shantelle McDaniel’s home in the Stevens Creek subdivision.
The home is sponsored by St. Petersburg-based Catalina Marketing Charitable Foundation, which also sponsored last year’s Collegiate Challenge house. Catalina Marketing employees also are volunteering each weekend to help build the home.
*updated 1:55 p.m. March 14.