The sound of hammering filled the air on Ho Plaza yesterday, as Cornell’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity kicked off Truss Days, a three-day-long building and fundraising event.
This spring marks the 11th consecutive year that Habitat for Humanity, a service-based organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing worldwide, has sponsored Truss Days.
“For three days, we are on Ho Plaza building trusses, which are triangular roof supports,” said Adam Levine ’03, president of Cornell’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. “We donate them to local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and this year they’re going up to Syracuse.”
Mike Gurzo ’01, former work projects chair for Cornell’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, said the organization expects to build 34 trusses, enough for two houses, by Saturday afternoon when the event ends.
While many Cornell Habitat for Humanity members were on hand to build the trusses, Levine said passers-by on Ho Plaza were also actively recruited.
“The student response so far has been, in a word, excellent,” Levine said. “At any given time there’s been one Habitat board member leading the building and five random volunteers. These are just people who were walking by and wanted to help out.”
Levine said volunteers have included sororities, fraternities, faculty members and students.
“I think it’s good to help out,” said Tim Riiff ’02, a three-time Truss Days volunteer. “People just come, hammer for awhile, then go to class.”
“It seemed like fun, and I wanted to help build a house,” said Lauren Nicholas ’02, who decided to volunteer after seeing the activities on Ho Plaza. “I like the idea of helping people who don’t have homes acquire them. It’s an easy way to be useful for five minutes.”
Forty people volunteered to build trusses by early afternoon yesterday, with 150 participants expected by the end of the Truss Days, Gurzo said. He added that event turnout this year has been an improvement on previous years.
In order to make Truss Days possible, Habitat for Humanity members spent the last few weeks fundraising throughout the community.
“It’s been going great,” said Gretchen Crowson ’02, Cornell Habitat for Humanity’s community outreach chair. “We got a lot of donations, over $1,000 all together. We sent out about 500 letters fundraising for this event, and we’ve gotten lots of community support.”
The Cornell Circle K club, a community service organization, is sponsoring a sister-event to Truss Days called the One-Hit Club.
According to Circle K member Adam Marshall ’01, participants pay one dollar to get a chance to hit a nail fully into a board with one swing. Winners’ names will be published in The Sun, and profits will be donated to Cornell Habitat for Humanity.
“We’ve had about 50 tries, and ten people who have actually joined the One-Hit Club,” Marshall said.
Gurzo encourages Cornellians to come out and participate in both activities.
“It’s a lot of fun, and you get to build,” he said. “A lot of people protest and don’t do things. We protest and do things.”
Truss Days and One-Hit Club activities will continue on Ho Plaza from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., today and tomorrow.
Archived article by Abigail Conover