Habitat kicks off week of fundraising with dance performances

Leezia Dhalla

Northwestern’s Habitat for Humanity chapter kicked off its annual “Act! Speak! Build! Week” on Sunday at Ryan Auditorium, with dance performances by Tonik Tap and Movement Dance & Step Team.

The show, dubbed “Habipalooza,” is the first in a series of events to raise money for transportation to Habitat’s build sites. Several groups, such as Boomshaka, Asterik and Bhangra, canceled their performances at the show, which 13 people attended.

“We wanted to try to establish a larger fundraising event in order to help our affiliates with our costs,” Habitat President Greg Go said. “We thought that a performance that brought together different members of the community would be the best way to do that.”

The Weinberg senior said the executive board also hoped to recruit new members and promote awareness of weekend builds, which were offered at seven different sites in Lake County and the south suburbs of Chicago last quarter.

Weinberg junior Vanessa Lee said the weekend trips are an opportunity to volunteer with friends while simultaneously developing skills.

“Habitat is different than other groups because when you give back to the community, you get in return,” the former executive board member said. “You learn skills like using a power saw. Where else on campus would you get that kind of experience?”

The week of activities continues today, when Habitat members will build Popsicle stick houses with local children to emphasize the group’s hands-on approach, Go said. The group will host a game night on Tuesday from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Rock Room at Norris University Center, and members will hand out candy and informational sheets at the Rock on Wednesday.

Thursday’s event, titled “Nourishment for the Soul,” is co-sponsored by One Voice and will give students the opportunity to read poetry, voice their opinions on volunteering and perform music. The event will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the ground floor of Norris.

“There’s a literary element to it and a focus on homelessness and humanity that is definitely unique,” said Weinberg sophomore and Habitat Treasurer Jonathon Roullard. “It’s probably going to have the biggest turnout of all of our events.”

Roullard, who will be Habitat’s next president, said he hopes to “put a face to the organization” and inspire more student involvement.

Last year, 280 students were involved with the organization, Go said. The students went on weekend build trips, joined one of the group’s committees or volunteered for Habitat via an Alternative Student Break trip to Alabama or Missouri, he said.

Weinberg junior Michael Sklar, who will be inaugurated as Habitat for Humanity’s treasurer later this spring, said he helped build a house in Birmingham, Ala., last December. After he saw the positive reaction of the family who received the house, he felt compelled to continue volunteering, Sklar said.

“Habitat is truly wonderful because there are tangible benefits, as far as looking at how the house looked when you started, and then how it looked at the end of the day, ” he said. “It really gives you the warm fuzzies.”[email protected]