Roanoke College senior Andrew Dittmar has considered himself a part of the Habitat for Humanity community ever since his first Habitat fall break trip his freshman year.
“It was cheaper to go on the break trip than it was to actually go home,” said Dittmar, who is from Ohio.
The decision to travel with Roanoke’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, however, turned out to be one of the most pivotal decisions of his college career.
“So many of my close friends have been the people that I met through Habitat,” Dittmar said.
In his last year at Roanoke, Dittmar is site coordinator for the College’s Habitat chapter.
The group works alongside the College and the local Habitat organization to bring R-House and several other fundraisers to campus. They include Shack Attack, a fundraiser that raises awareness of the homeless population by requiring students to spend the night in cardboard boxes on the College’s Back Quad.
Much of Dittmar’s volunteer year is dedicated to Roanoke’s R-House, a College sponsored Habitat house built for a family in the Roanoke Valley. The house starts as part of freshmen orientation when the entire class of first-year students help in the construction.
In addition to orientation week, around 170 student volunteers helped throughout the year to finish the 2014-2015 R-House, both through construction as well as fundraising.
Dittmar explained that while Habitat at Roanoke is successful philanthropically, his biggest take-away from being involved is the sense of community that it builds.
He quoted the Rev. Paul Henrickson, former dean of the chapel at Roanoke, as saying that with Habitat, “You build community, and the house just kind of happens.”
“The point of it is that you’re creating a community around a common goal, and that has always been, by far, the part that I enjoyed the most,” Dittmar said.
To learn more about Habitat’s chapter at Roanoke College, check out its Facebook page.
-By Hannah Cline ’15