Six people, six departments, six different perspectives. Dive into faculty, staff, and students’ thoughts on spending one day at a Habitat for Humanity build.
There’s something powerful about putting words in actions. Here at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, we discuss and act on philanthropy in multiple ways. We act on it through research, through marketing and communications, through the special lenses of our institutes and schools, through connections with students, and through volunteering in our own community.
On September 28, we focused on the last part – volunteering. Six of us represented the school as a whole, but we all came from different units – research, faculty, Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, student services, communications and marketing, and a Ph.D. candidate. We all perform different roles, but we coalesced around one mission for the day, which was to help build a home for an Indianapolis family.
We also worked on various projects throughout the day. I joined with several individuals from Academic Affairs on adding windows to the home. Some worked on the roof of the house, while others worked on making marks around the house to ensure accuracy for other projects.
Like we do at the school, we worked on different projects, but all of those projects (both on the house and in our day-to-day work lives) are vital. They ensure that the house becomes a home and the school succeeds in its mission. At the end of the day, the house was more completed than when we started. At the end of each work day, I see the impact of another research project set to further inform our thinking about philanthropy, another student who engages with philanthropy in some way, or another blog post that translates and transmits information about our school or philanthropy to a broader audience.
We come from different places, different paths, and have different mindsets, but in our own ways, we truly are all making the world a better place.
I have a newfound respect and appreciation for home builders. I’m also grateful to the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy for the opportunity to fulfill my dream to assist with being a volunteer for Habitat.
I learned a lot about houses with my assignment, which was to mark and measure spots around the frame of the house, using a leveler where the studs goes and holding the ladder for my partner. Also, I participated in measuring and cutting the Styrofoam wrap, which keeps the moisture from entering the home. During this process I noticed:
- No task is insignificant
- How precise I must be
- Small projects are time consuming
- Absolutely no shortcuts
- Tasks should never be rushed
Something else I will never forget on site on Friday: I met an 85-year-old neighbor who expressed her gratitude for the cause. I was ecstatic to share with the sweet neighbor the new and additional initiative Habitat is launching. They received a huge grant to assist established homeowners in the areas, which enables them to transform their homes to be more accessible and meet coding standards. Some of those projects include tub conversion to walk-in shower, updated windows to siding, and much more.
The Habitat build was a great reminder of the value of volunteers. From the well-seasoned “Orange Tigers” who gave us clear guidance on how to measure, find studs, and level windows, to the novice volunteer with little knowledge of a plumb line, level, or slats, we all made a difference. With our names affixed to our helmets, we all mattered and discovered new ways that we are more similar than different in terms of our common goals. Cheers to IUPUI for hosting its first-ever Habitat House.
Being brand new to Indy and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, I jumped at the chance to volunteer for several reasons. First, it was my first opportunity to volunteer in Indy. Volunteering is a great way to feel connected to a community and learn new things about it. Second, it’s a great way to get to know people. I work on the same floor as five of my fellow volunteers, but it wasn’t until I was on a roof or on our lunch break that I got to talk to them more than a passing “hello.” Lastly, it always feels good to step away and replace theories and research with hammers and power saws. It was a reminder that what I am studying is happening throughout our community and our world every day of the week.
Participating in the Habitat for Humanity build recently with my colleagues from the school was incredibly life-giving and so much fun! Being able to step away from our day-to-day work and have a tangible representation of generosity through volunteering our time together truly represents our vision as a school in helping to create lasting change in our world.
The opportunity to meet colleagues from different units, as well as full-time Habitat volunteers, was a great experience. Collaborating with people who have diverse backgrounds and interests while working for the same cause reminded me that philanthropy does its best if we work as a part of and for a diverse community.