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Greek Orgs Put Last Touches on Second Lander Habitat House

students working on habitat houseLander University's second Habitat home is almost ready - thanks in part to some 'sweat equity' this spring by the school's Greek organizations.

About 40 members of all seven Greek chapters showed up April 12 during a campus-wide picnic-build event to help complete the last phase of home construction.

"I'm not very good with tools, but Habitat is such a good organization," said junior English major Caitlin Lancaster, a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. "We have about 47 members and we all thought this would be a good thing to take part in."

Sophomore Taylor Rounds of Phi Mu sorority added, "This was my first time working on a Habitat home, and I think it's a good way to give back to the Greenwood community, because Greenwood gives so much to us here at Lander."

Based on the turnout, the aroma of the hotdogs and hamburgers wafting across the build site, and the smiles that seemed to emanate from the rotating teams of student constructors, the picnic/build could become a new Lander tradition for all future Habitat homes.

"All of our Greek organizations have some type of community service that they are required to complete each semester," said Jill Franklin, assistant director of Student Activities and director of Fraternity & Sorority Life. "Participating in this kind of build is a very easy way for them to get involved, especially since all the Lander Habitat homes are constructed right here on campus."

Work on the home was completed in time for the official dedication April 19 during Lander's annual Alumni Week.

"We're planning to move the house this May to its permanent location in the Kirksey Park area of southern Greenwood," said Chad Charles, executive director for Greenwood Habitat for Humanity. "The excitement, optimism and energy brought by all involved has been unbelievable, and we look forward to continuing this partnership with Lander next year and for many years to come."

The Lander Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity broke ground on the new 1,100-square-foot home in February.

Counting the Greek organizations, more than 100 students helped build the walls, floors and roof for what will soon become home to Kathy Ouzts.

"I'm a single mom with four kids," Ouzts said, "and this home is a huge blessing for us."

The Lander Habitat home is an ongoing initiative, begun in 2015 with support from Lander First Lady Jessie Cosentino, to serve as "a positive impact on both our students and our community."

Including Lander, Habitat for Humanity lists more than 500 campus chapters in the U.S.

Plans are underway to begin the third home on the Lander campus next February, and sophomore Mary King of Gamma Phi Beta said she has already earmarked her calendar for the next build.

"It's fun and it makes me feel like I'm helping," said King, an early childhood education major. "And I would love to get all of our members in Gamma Phi Beta involved in building the next Habitat home."