Shacks today for homes tomorrow

September 22, 2010

By Abby Rhodes

Bradley students turned Olin Quad into a cardboard neighborhood Wednesday afternoon as part of Habitat for Humanity’s annual Shack-a-Thon fund-raiser.

At noon, the quad was a tapestry of flattened cardboard boxes as students plotted their construction strategies. In just a few hours, a makeshift village had risen. Duct tape secured dwellings ranging from the rudimentary to the grandiose, and many featured comforts of home – carpeted floors, curtains, laptop computers, and even electricity.

Those amenities will surely be appreciated as night falls. At least one member of each participating organization is required to sleep in its shack all night.

“The goal is to raise awareness about poverty and sub-standard housing. Sleeping in a shack for an entire night isn’t the most comfortable thing, so it shows you what living outside can be like,” said the president of Bradley’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, senior Shannon Knoblauch.

Entry fees from each of the 27 participating student groups will be used to help Habitat’s Peoria chapter build a home for a local family in need.

Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, whose Noah’s Ark-shaped shack won last year’s competition, once again made good on its reputation for clever engineering – literally rising to the challenge. Junior Janira Del Valle said several weeks of planning went into the group’s 30-foot tall tabernacle-shaped shack.

“It’s interesting to see how ideas develop from year to year,” said Knoblauch. “Each year, someone will discover something that works well, and then a group will adapt it for their own design the next year.”

With Bradley students donating a combined 46,500 hours to community service projects each year, the Shack-a-Thon is just one of many philanthropic events hosted on the Hilltop.