Poverty and homelessness surrounds everyone, even  when we don’t realize it.

Habitat for Humanity at Keene State College has exposed students to just how much it impacts the community around them.

Sophomore secondary education and spanish major and treasurer of Habitat for Humanity Melissa Munoz said the club has helped her think of everything in, “a whole new light.”

“Poverty and homelessness is something we’re aware of, but we don’t realize how close to home it really is and how many people are severely affected by it,” Munoz said. “Habitat has taught me to be more aware and knowledgeable about what is going on around me because raising awareness is really important in any socio-economic issue.”

Munoz plans to continue being a part of Habitat for Humanity even after graduating.

“Once I graduate I will hopefully be on my way to being an educator, and with that I hope to be able to perhaps be the Habitat club leader at the school I work at, in hopes of getting kids involved in helping the community,” Munoz said.

According to Munoz, the people in the club inspire her. “I think it’s amazing how determined and power-driven some people are when it comes to helping others, and for me that’s astonishing,” Munoz said.

Sophomore and anthropology major Olivia Miller said she believes it is important to be a part of the wider community beyond campus.

Miller was the publicity coordinator for the club this year and will be the vice president  next year.

“Homelessness is something that is very prevalent in our society right now, and I think that it is important that there are clubs all across the nation and across the world that are paying attention to people who do not have homes and doing whatever we can to help those people in need,” Miller said.

The club goes on what are called ‘Habitat Builds’ Miller said. The outings consist of going to local places, such as Concord or Manchester, to help build homes with other Habitat for Humanity volunteers and workers.

“We put our hard hats on and start helping wherever we are needed,” Miller said.

According to the Habitat for Humanity website, “In fiscal year 2015, Habitat served nearly 1.8 million people through home construction, incremental construction, rehabilitation, repairs or increased access to improved shelter through products and services.”

Miller said the amount of teamwork put in is amazing and that she has learned the importance of working as a team especially when taking on a project such as building a house.

Sophomore and safety major Ben Weidman said he is inspired by the fact that people who are a part of the club are willing to help anyone in need.

“I like the fact that when people get a Habitat home it is not just a hand out. People pay mortgage and they help volunteer. There’s a lot put into it and it’s much more thoughtful than people would think,” Weidman said.

Weidman was one of the project managers this year and will be moving up to the president position in the club next year.

Photo from KSC Habitat for Humanity Facebook Page

Photo from KSC Habitat for Humanity Facebook Page

“I like doing the builds the best with Habitat. It has also encouraged me to do Alternative Break, which is another community service group. I have gone to New Orleans with Alternative Break and with Habitat I have been to Connecticut, Manchester and Concord,” Weidman said.

Weidman said while being a part of Habitat he has made several friendships. He said meeting new people and gaining new experiences has been great rather than, “just sitting around on campus during the weekends.”

All three E-board members said they would like to spread the word of Habitat around campus and have their club grow with new membership.

Miller said, “This club has given me more personal confidence and I’m learning how to build houses while giving back to the community, which I would’ve never been able to do anywhere else.”

Emma Hamilton can be contacted at ehamilton@kscequinox.com

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