ASB Week combats homelessness

Katie Cassavell

After a successful start this Monday, Villanova students, faculty and staff continue to participate in Act! Speak! Build! Week, a nationwide Habitat for Humanity movement that focuses on issues of homelessness.

Across the country, Act! Speak! Build! Week, also referred to as ASB, is a way for students involved in the collegiate chapters of Habitat to teach others the problems of homelessness and inadequate affordable housing across the globe. 

The Villanova Habitat chapter, which has recently been nominated as one of the top five chapters in the country, worked hard to put this week together. 

A 20-member board along with junior Co-Presidents of VU Habitat, Joseph Catuzzi and Christina Radossi, organized the events for the week.  

“[We want] to make people aware about Habitat and all the problems of housing, not only nationwide, but also in our area,” freshman volunteer Christina Sexauer said.

According to Catuzzi, last year the campaign during ASB week raised $2,000, and Habitat members are trying to do the same this year, if not more.

“Five dollars gives people a sense of ownership,” Catuzzi said. “It makes people feel like they are actually contributing to something, and even though it is small, it does make a difference.”

The chapter is also asking students who stop by the booth to pose for a Habitat for Humanity photo campaign. The sign will consist of multiple pictures of students, each holding a specific word, which will eventually be assembled to spell out the phrase: “I believe in the life, liberty and the pursuit of housing.”

The sign will be sent to Pennsylvania legislators to show student support to change policies regarding homelessness and poverty. ASB week will continue today with a Habitat board tour of Norristown, Pa., the site in which Saturday’s build will take place.  

The Montgomery county Habitat for Humanity will lead the tour at 3:45 p.m. Members of the board will continue their involvement in ASB week with a Habitat intercollegiate conference Friday at 4 p.m. in Bartley Hall. 

Representatives from Drexel, Temple, Penn and Cabrini will also attend, along with a Habitat homeowner guest speaker. Saturday, students will work on the house in Montgomery County, which all the fundraising will go toward. 

“It’s really a good opportunity for other people who aren’t as involved in Habitat to see the work that is being done and to see the house that we raised money for,” Radossi said.

Both co-presidents hope that through participating in the build trip Saturday, they will become more aware of the poverty in neighborhoods near Villanova.

“You often go across the world to do service work, but you forget that there are people right in your backyard that need just as much help,” Radossi said.

ASB Week will commence with evening masses on Sunday. According to Catuzzi, anything that is raised during Palm Sunday masses will go directly toward sponsoring VU Habitat’s third home.

“A home is basically the foundation of someone’s life,” Radossi said. “If you don’t have that, then everything else kind of falls apart.”