April 28, 2006

Habitat Holds Truss Days to Raise Awareness

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They don’t plaster you with flyers, they don’t beg you for support by dancing around like lunatics and they don’t harass you for money.

Instead, they show students exactly what they do to better the community – they build.

Students who have been on Ho Plaza in the past few days have probably noticed the dozens of students participating in Truss Days, an event sponsored by Cornell’s chapter of Habitat For Humanity.

From early in the morning until late afternoon, local high school students and volunteers have joined members of Habitat to make trusses – triangular shapes of wood designed to support the roofs of houses. This week’s trusses will go to a Habitat house in Rochester.

Making each truss requires a group effort and takes some time to build. While some participants were new to Truss Days, several others have been involved years past.

“I started doing Habitat projects my freshman year,” said Christina Chu ’07, one of this year’s co-chairs of Truss Days. “I like hands-on building activity, and I’m a civil engineer, so it’s right up my alley. I also enjoy doing community service.”

Community service is precisely what Habitat For Humanity and Truss Days are all about.

Truss Days is only one of the ways Habitat helps out the community and functions both as community service as well as an opportunity to educate fellow students about the work Habitat does.

Currently, Cornell’s chapter of Habitat is working on a house in Cortland as well as one in Corning. Habitat work trips are organized most Saturdays throughout the semester.

One of the goals of Truss Days was to inform students about these other Habitat projects.

“We really want to raise awareness of Habitat. We’ve had speakers from our parent board, and we try to educate people when they come and volunteer.

We try to do a more one-on-one approach to encourage people to volunteer,” Chu said.

Chu also serves as a co-chair of a project scheduled for next semester called Operation Home Delivery.

Operation Home Delivery is a joint project undertaken by Cornell’s Habitat for Humanity, SUNY Cortland’s Habitat for Humanity and the Tompkins-Cortland chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

The goal of the project is to build walls of a house to be shipped to a hurricane-affected area somewhere in the South. Through corporate sponsorship and donations, Habitat is trying to raise $75,000. So far, they have already raised $70,000.

“We could still use help, and we could use donations. We really want to show people that there’s still a need down there.”

While Operation Home Delivery emphasizes the need in the South, members of Habitat stressed the importance of building the trusses for local people.

They are important to Habitat because they keep costs low.

“The trusses are good for the house in Rochester because the pre-manufactured trusses are much more expensive,” said Chris Dudasik ’07.

Dudasik has also worked all three days.

“As a board member and somebody’s who’s knowledgeable about construction, I wanted to be here to help coordinate the event. I definitely sacrificed some sleep this week, but [Truss Days is] one of our biggest events. When people are on Ho Plaza, they can see that Habitat’s doing something and can get involved. It gives them an opportunity to find out more about our events,” he said.

Truss Days ends today, though two work trips are scheduled for this weekend.

Archived article by Nate Lowry
Sun Staff Writer