Presidential Fellows build Habitat House
Geraldine Dabney and her daughter‚ Ashante‚ live in a Marietta apartment where unrepaired leaks in the ceiling have damaged almost bald carpets and missing window screens invite insects inside. There was a murder in Dabney’s apartment complex just last year.
(May 25, 2004) — Geraldine Dabney and her daughter‚ Ashante‚ live in a Marietta apartment where unrepaired
leaks in the ceiling have damaged almost bald carpets and missing window screens invite
insects inside. There was a murder in Dabney’s apartment complex just last year.
But thanks to the Presidential Fellows program and Cobb Habitat for Humanity‚ which builds modest houses for low−income families‚ Dabney will soon receive the keys to a new home of her own.
“I think at Kennesaw State‚ part of our educational mission is to help students learn that they have not only an opportunity‚ but an obligation to serve their communities‚” Presidential Fellows Director Charles Bowen said. “The university is all about not only trying to educate students‚ but to give back to the community too.”
The Presidential Fellows program is KSU’s capstone leadership program. The group’s mission is servant leadership. For 10 Saturdays‚ starting March 20‚ students participating in the program have been working on a Habitat house for the Dabney family in Mableton. The house will be dedicated Saturday‚ June 19 at 11 a.m.
While KSU students‚ faculty and staff have worked individually on Habitat houses for many years‚ the university’s formal partnership with the nonprofit organization dates back to 2000‚ when Habitat for Humanity International founder and President Millard Fuller spoke at convocation. At that time‚ President Betty L. Siegel pledged the university’s support in raising $25‚000 for the group. But her ultimate goal was for the university to sponsor a house.
“I think it’s very poignant to engage in this type of activity during the 40th anniversary celebration‚” Bowen said. “The resources of campus are brought to bear to help the community as much as possible.”
The Cobb County chapter of Habitat for Humanity International started in 1986‚ according to Chief Financial Officer John Seymour. The chapter built 223 houses through December 2003. As a testament to KSU’s commitment to the community‚ Seymour said it’s very unusual for Habitat to partner with a university.
“We’ve had some partnerships with high schools‚ but this is one of only a few‚ if not the only‚ partnership with a university‚” he said.
Though it takes $46‚500 to sponsor a Habitat house‚ Bowen said he hopes this can be an annual project for the Presidential Fellows.
“It’s just been a joy to see the pleasure that the students have gotten from doing this‚” he said. “It’s really a labor of love; people are having a good time.”
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.