Habitat plans Act! Speak! Build! Week

Thomas Celona

Villanova’s Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter will organize a week of events, fundraising and advocacy campaigns, all aimed at highlighting the need for affordable housing, as part of its third annual Act! Speak! Build! Week from March 30-April 3.

“It’s a week when college campuses around the nation participate to promote advocacy, education and awareness about the lack of adequate housing,” said senior Linley Kirkwood, current co-program coordinator of Villanova’s Campus Chapter and the community outreach coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County.

The theme for this year’s Act! Speak! Build! Week will be “making housing a matter of action.”

The Habitat committee will organize two campaigns on campus during the week.

The first is the $5 Campaign, a fundraiser that will benefit the chapter’s second house sponsorship.

“It’s a fundraiser to bring the Villanova community together under the premise that if everyone gave $5, we’d be really close to meeting the funds needed for house sponsorship,” Kirkwood said.

The committee will be collecting donations for the campaign every day next week from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. both outside the Italian Kitchen and in Connelly Center.

An anonymous donor has agreed to match the funds raised by the $5 campaign up to $5,000.

In addition to the funds raised through the $5 Campaign, Mass collections on March 29 will go to the Habitat committee.

The committee is currently $10,000 away from raising all the funds required to fully sponsor its second home in two years.

Additionally, Habitat will organize a letter-writing campaign in which students can write letters to their state senators and representatives, encouraging them to address the issue of inadequate housing. Students can participate in the letter-writing campaign at the $5 Campaign donation sites.

In further efforts to promote awareness, members of the Habitat committee will make presentations to classes. The presentations began this week and will continue during Act! Speak! Build! Week.

Members will also make presentations to Campus Ministry’s What Now? groups, which are made up of students who recently returned from service break experiences over spring break.

The committee will also display facts about poverty on posters across campus in another effort to increase awareness.

Act! Speak! Build! Week will conclude with Green and Blue Day on April 2 and a conference on April 3.

On Green and Blue Day, students are encouraged to wear green and blue – Habitat for Humanity’s signature colors – in a show of support for the organization.

The conference will bring together members of Habitat for Humanity campus chapters from colleges across the Greater Philadelphia area, including Cabrini College and Drexel University. The conference allows the different chapters to share their best practices with the goal of improving each group’s individual efforts.

After months of planning, committee members say they are looking forward to the events of Act! Speak! Build! Week and the effect the week has on the community.

“It makes people on campus a lot more aware of our organization and the opportunities to volunteer,” Kirkwood said.

While the surrounding area may be known for its wealth, it is not immune from the issue of inadequate housing. Kirkwood noted that in neighboring Montgomery County, approximately 5,600 houses have been deemed unlivable.

“There’s a great need locally that many people don’t realize given that it’s such a wealthy area,” she said. “Housing is a basic human need, and Habitat strives to promote awareness of the problems surrounding allowing everyone access to affordable housing.”