Habitat for Humanity stirs support for homeless

There’s only one place on campus to find pirate ships, castles and farm silos – Box City, an event hosted by Habitat for Humanity to spread awareness and raise money for the homeless.

At Box City, located in the grassy area in front of Saddlemire and the Rock, students create their own place to stay the night out of cardboard boxes and other materials, like duct tape, provided at the event. Those who shack up in the makeshift city will be treated to free dinner and breakfast as well as prizes for the best and most creative houses.

Mary Persichilli, senior, participated in Box City last year and said it was well worth the one night she spent in a cardboard box. Although Persichilli was glad to help draw attention to homelessness, she said that another part of her involvement with Habitat for Humanity was even more touching.

“Once we built a house where a 16-year-old girl was going to live. She helped us actually build the house, and when we were done, we all signed our names to the last piece of siding,” Persichilli said. “The best part was seeing the faces of those we were actually helping.”

Diane Schwab, junior, is the president of the University chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Like Persichilli, Schwab has seen firsthand people affected by homelessness.

“As one of our awareness activities, this experience will give people a chance to experience homelessness for themselves,” Schwab said.

But this doesn’t mean students don’t have fun at the event too. Schwab said that at last year’s Box City, students managed to fashion a three story cardboard box, and some actually slept on both the first and

second floors.

Although students like Jordan Pingle, junior, might have seen the boxes Habitat for Humanity placed around campus to draw attention to Box City, they might not have understood completely.

“I’d been wondering what that box by the Union was about for awhile,” Pingle said. “Every day, I walked by and wondered, what’s a Box City?”

After finding out the concept of Box City, Pingle thinks the event sounds like something he might be interested in.

“I’m going to think of something awesome to build- maybe an box igloo, because it’s getting cold,” Pingle said.

Students wishing to join Habitat for Humanity can simply stop by a meeting to check it out. The group meets on Wednesday nights in Olscamp 226 at 9:30 p.m. and anyone is welcome.

If the University is beginning to seem boring, stop by Box City on Sept. 30 to check out an array of cardboard edifices – and possibly an igloo or two.