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Habitat for Humanity trips spur Carleton service spirit

<bitat for Humanity spring break trips are a hit at Carleton.

The school will be sending 21 people to Sheridon, Wyo., and 14 to Waterloo, Iowa this year to tackle a variety of Habitat building projects.

Reed Jordan ’12 and Kristine Nachbor ’12 are co-leading the trip to Wyoming.

“I really wanted to lead after participating my sophomore year,” Jordan said. “I remembered how much fun my leaders had had, and I think my excitement to lead this year will trickle down to create a positive environment for the participants.”
Nachbor, although new to Habitat, has lots of volunteer experience under her belt, including social service trips down to New Orleans.

“I thought Habitat would be a chance for me to give back to a community while also learning from it,” she said. “As a leader, I will be able to facilitate the trip and make sure that everyone gets the most out of this wonderful opportunity.”

Habitat continues to be a highly sought-after spring break activity, a fun, hands-on experience that also makes a difference.
Habitat “taught me that you can enact significant, tangible change in someone’s life with time, effort and small sacrifices in your own life,” Jordan said.

Carleton has witnessed future leaders develop as a result of Habitat. For example, Teddy Gelderman ‘11, a prior Habitat trip leader, is now serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the CCCE’s Academic Civic Engagement program.

“Students consistently report that Habitat trips have made them more aware of the socioeconomic challenges facing many families,” Laura Riehle-Merrile, director of the ACT Center, said, adding, “Habitat provides a unique opportunity to apply classroom learning to real-life contexts.”

This perspective is what connects Carleton students to the greater community outside of campus. But Habitat also connects students within the Carleton campus.

“Habitat cuts across social networks at Carleton, and helps you to meet civically like-minded Carleton students,” Jordan said.
 Riehle-Merrill noted that “Carleton students love the opportunity to get to know students that they might never have interacted with otherwise.”

This idea of connectivity is important to Carleton students, primarily as a result of the restrictiveness of the Carleton “bubble.”
“Everyone talks about issues happening in our world,” Nachbor said. “Everyone talks about politics, policies and other things that they hope to change. Volunteering is a time where you can finally act instead of just speaking, and programs like Habitat for Humanity give everyone the chance to learn through action.”

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