CONTACT: STEPHEN PRADARELLI
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Sept. 16, 1999
UI chapter of Habitat for Humanity builds first house
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The UI Campus Chapter of Habitat
for Humanity is building its first-ever house.
The 200-member chapter -- with help from UI faculty,
Greek organizations and Iowa City's three Rotary Clubs and others -- raised
the roughly $40,000 needed to build the three-bedroom house at 2679 Indigo
Court. The group, made up mostly of students, is also contributing time and
labor, along with the house's future owners, Brett and Kristina Halter and
their three children.
University of Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman will
visit the site, located off Whispering Prairie Drive just south of Highway
6, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18. Students and other volunteers will be
drywalling and siding the house, which was framed this past weekend.
The work is expected to be completed in mid-October,
with a formal dedication ceremony to follow shortly after.
Sara James, former president of the chapter and team
leader on the project, said that after more than a year of planning and fundraising
she's excited to see the house finally come together.
"We've worked so hard for so long now. It's an awesome
feeling," said James, a senior from Belmond, who is majoring in exercise science.
"It's always been a goal in the back of everyone's mind that this is what
we're working towards."
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit,
ecumenical Christian housing ministry that seeks to eliminate poverty housing
and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience
and action. Founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, the organization
has built almost 80,000 houses around the world, providing some 400,000 people
in more than 2,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter.
Created about three years ago, the UI chapter has
helped the Iowa City chapter of Habitat build a number of houses. Last year
UI chapter members decided to strike out on their own.
"Originally we thought spring of '99 would be our
target date, but we didn't get the funds raised in time," James said. "By
May we knew we'd break ground in August."
James said the group first tried to raise money by
sponsoring activities, such as face-painting at sporting events and two 5-kilometer
runs, but competition from other organizations was stiff. After hearing Habitat
co-founder Millard Fuller speak last September, the group decided to start
a Square Foot Club whereby people could "buy" a square foot of the house for
The effort netted the chapter $5,000, mostly from
UI faculty. Other donations, including $15,000 from the Rotary Clubs and $6,000
from the Greeks, made up the difference.
Robert Wiley, a professor in the UI College of Pharmacy
and member of the Iowa City Noon Rotary Club, said that even with the Rotary
Clubs' donations, the students deserve praise for their work on the house.
"To do what they did was pretty remarkable," Wiley
said. "Affordable housing is one of the real problems we have in the country
and Iowa City. I think the students are to be commended for taking on such
an ambitious project.