ONU Students Use Spring Break to Work for Habitat for Humanity

A group of college students traveled miles this week to help Valdosta-Lowndes County in Habitat for Humanity.

Fourteen Ohio Northern University students dropped their pens and pencils and picked up hammers and nails to help construct a home this week for a woman and three children at Baymeadows Drive.

The week-long build was part of Habitat’s national collegiate challenge held annually when college students trade their spring break vacations for community service.

Upon completion in April, the house will have four bedrooms and two bathrooms, said Molly Ferrier, Habitat executive director.

Jillian Sugden, president of Ohio Northern’s Habitat chapter, was busy with roofing work alongside her peers Wednesday. She’s been supporting the nonprofit for three years.

“I’ve always been really, really into service,” she said. “… As soon as I got involved, the first thing I did with them, I knew that was the organization that was really important to my heart.”

She said she feels blessed to provide a home for a family, adding building the house not only aids her in forming relationships with others but adds a personal touch to the project.

Emma Canfield, a fifth-year pharmacy student at Ohio Northern, said she has volunteered most of her life and has participated in the collegiate challenge twice.

“I saw the trip as an opportunity to visit somewhere I’ve never been…I wanted to learn something new, meet new people and I just like what Habitat does for people,” she said.

Canfield, who said she enjoyed painting and handling shingles, saw an emotional impact to her work.

She said studying health care has shown her some people have limited access, and by partaking in the collegiate challenge, she’s helping someone in need.

“I think people should be able to live in a nice, safe home,” she said.

This week marks the last spring break that Canfield can volunteer before beginning a career as a pharmacist, she said.

Ferrier said the visiting students have been having dinner at various churches nightly and donors provide lunches.

She called the students amazing for giving up their spring break.

“It gives me hope in our future,” Ferrier said. “These students are the ones that’s going to be running the world soon. I’m excited about where we’re going.”