Members of the Carlson School community recently gathered for the first-ever Mega Build, a day of service devoted to help build at Habitat for Humanity sites around the Twin Cities.
More than 70 Carlson School members ditched the dress shoes and slipped on the work boots for the school's first-ever Mega Build, a service event held March 30 that brought together the Carlson School community to help build at Habitat for Humanity sites around the Twin Cities.
The event attracted students, faculty, and staff who pounded, painted, spackled, hauled, and lent a hand wherever and however they could.
"I love this. It's been a lot of fun," says freshman Niandra Theiss with a smear of white paint prominently displayed on her face. "You get to see the work you've done and you're actually doing something productive and you're actually helping."
How much they were helping, explains Marysa Lai, senior and co-coordinator of the Mega Build, was driven home by a game that was played with her group during a break.
"We learned a lot about homelessness and how it affects people," she says, adding that the game taught them that "it takes more money to put someone up in a shelter than it does to put them into an apartment, which is crazy to think about."
Building the Framework
The idea for the Mega Build event got its start after Lai saw a smaller Habitat build last year. That got her thinking about how a similar, yet bigger, effort could potentially help the local community and build a stronger sense of community with Carlson School students, staff, and faculty. She contacted Anna Resman, a Carlson School junior and volunteer coordinator at the University's Habitat chapter
"Marysa and I decided this would be a great opportunity to have a Carlson community service event and be able to incorporate our U of M chapter of Habitat," says Mega Build Co-Coordinator Resman. "We started brainstorming back in the fall, in October, and then got a committee after Christmas and now we're here."
Lai will soon graduate, but it's her hope that with Resman guiding the way the Mega Build will return next year and eventually become an annual event. For now, she's just overjoyed that its first event was such a great success.
"This has just been amazing," she says. "It's been phenomenal to see that we were able to get over 70 people sign up and come to this event and see how much people care for the community and want to give back and contribute and have a positive impact overall. So, it's been awesome."
60K Day. A One Day Fundraiser on April 12
Building on the momentum of the Mega Build, the Carlson School undergraduate student body has pledged to raise $5,000 on 60K Day, the one day, University of Minnesota community driven, charity event to raise $60,000 to sponsor a Habitat for Humanity home. Donations will be used to help build a home in S. Minneapolis for Habitat family Kadra Musse and Noor Ahmed and their children.
"The ultimate goal is really to connect the entire University to come together for one common goal, on one day," says Resman.
Other University student organizations, individuals, colleges, faculty, and staff have already committed to contributing toward the cause. To pledge and for more information on 60K Day, visit 60kday.org.