Roanoke College, Habitat for Humanity partner to build home for Roanoke family

All of Roanoke College’s first year students participate in the construction of the ‘R House’

SALEM, Va. – The finish line is in sight for this year’s “Home for Good” that WSLS 10 News is building in partnership with Habitat for Humanity in the Roanoke Valley and generous community sponsors.

As that Habitat project wraps up, others across the Roanoke Valley are getting underway, including an annual tradition that brings together Habitat, Roanoke College and the community.

Since Sunday, an ordinary parking lot on Roanoke College’s campus has transformed into a place where extraordinary things are happening: first year students are working together to build a Habitat home.

“We put 600 people together and we do something pretty amazing in three to four days,” said Jesse Griffin, Director of The Center for Civic Engagement at Roanoke College.

In that time, all of Roanoke College’s first year students participate in the construction of the ‘R House,’ a tradition that has been happening since 2005.

“I think it’s very easy to kind of get focused in our own little geography so that we forget there’s this larger world outside,” said Brian Clark, Habitat Construction Director and Roanoke College alumnus. “Right from the start in their first few days here, they’re working on something that’s just a little outside of their comfort area.”

The home is built in four parts on Roanoke College’s campus and then trailered over to the actual home site in Roanoke and craned into place. Through this annual project, the college aims to teach students the importance of service and build lasting connections, by building.

“There’s nothing more bonding than throwing a whole bunch of people together and doing something they have no idea how to do and have never done before,” Griffin said.

When construction is complete in December, a local mother of three will have a home of her own for her family, an experience students say makes all of this very worthwhile.

“Doing stuff like this, we can make a community, we can make a family and we can get to know each other and all for a good cause,” said Art Duncan, a first year student from Chesapeake.

This marks the 16th year for the annual Roanoke College build with Habitat.

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