Since Habitat for Humanity came to Georgetown in 1999, many members of the Southwestern University community have volunteered with the organization on an individual basis. This year, however, the campus community is taking its involvement to a whole new level by committing to finance and build a complete house for Habitat.

Last semester, President Jake B. Schrum led efforts to begin fundraising for the house. By the end of the semester, University officials had secured pledges for $45,000 of the $50,000 required for a house. An anonymous gift from a member of the Southwestern community and two leadership gifts from Southwestern friends in Georgetown contributed to the fundraising success. Students will raise the remainder this semester from the campus community.

“Participating in this project fits perfectly with Southwestern’s core purpose of encouraging activism,” Schrum said. “It also fits a key objective of our 2010 Strategic Plan, which is to develop comprehensive local community initiatives.”

A groundbreaking ceremony for Southwestern’s Habitat House will be held Saturday, Jan. 28, at 9:30 a.m. on the Finch Chapel Plaza off Southwestern Boulevard. Speakers at the ceremony will include Schrum, a representative from Habitat for Humanity and a student representative from Southwestern.

Immediately afterwards, students will begin building a shed for the house. Construction of this shed will continue for about a month.

The organization plans to build a total of 20 houses on this property during the next three to five years. Construction of Southwestern’s house is scheduled to begin in the fall. The shed will be moved to this property when it is completed.

Meghan Hines, a 2005 Southwestern graduate who is working with Habitat for Humanity this year through VISTA (a branch of AmeriCorps), said a family to occupy the Southwestern house should be identified within the next two months. Once the family is identified, the house can be designed to accommodate that family. She said construction of the house should take about five months.

Habitat for Humanity has already built 15 houses in Georgetown since a local chapter was chartered in 1999.

More than 100 students have signed up to help with the project. All members of the campus community are invited to attend the groundbreaking and volunteer to assist with the project. Anyone interested in volunteering should send a message to The next steering committee meeting will be held Feb. 2 at noon in the Dan Rather Room of the McCombs Campus Center.

Faculty and staff members interested in contributing to the project may make checks payable to Southwestern University and deliver them to the Institutional Advancement Office on the third floor of the Cullen Building. Please note on the checks that they are for the SU Habitat House.