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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Annual Shack-A-Thon to lend hand to local family

Photo by File

Shack-A-Thon takes place in Rudder Plaza where organizations raise

money to build a house for a family in need.

Throughout the course of April 10 through 13, organizations on campus will build shelters in Rudder Plaza and take shifts living in them in order to raise awareness for homelessness in the Bryan-College Station community.

Shack-A-Thon is an event conducted by Texas A&M’s campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a nationally recognized non-profit organization that works to fundraise and build a home for a local family in need, as well as advocate for affordable housing. Jesse Norris, nuclear engineering senior, serves as the president of Aggie Habitat. Norris said Shack-A-Thon localizes a global topic.

“Shack-A-Thon was started over a decade ago,” Norris said. “The goal was to provide a unique fundraiser and advocacy event to help other organizations at A&M learn more about substandard housing in America, around the world, and even right in our backyard in the Bryan-College Station area.”

Shack-A-Thon’s participation will include several Freshmen Leadership Organizations, or FLOs. Austin Lee is a management sophomore and the Aggie Relations chairman for Freshmen Leaders in Progress. Lee said student organizations can get involved with Shack-A-Thon through a donation and a bit of manual labor to build each organization’s “shack.”

“We made a donation, acquired a plot in Rudder Plaza and then built a shack,” Lee said. “We spent a couple of weeks constructing our shack and on Monday, we will put it up in Rudder Plaza and we will have one person living in it at all times from Monday to Thursday.”

Lee said success in this event starts at raising awareness by means of campus involvement.

“I think it’s a great way for everyone to be involved,” Lee said. “Since it’s in the main part of campus, people will pass through and be intrigued by what’s happening and find that our proceeds go towards benefitting someone in this community. And to me, that’s just awesome.”

Chemistry freshman Abe Van Helmond said he is eager to participate in his first Shack-A-Thon and looks forward to the rewarding experience and also holds philanthropy in a high esteem.

“I grew up being taught to always give back to those who needed it, so service has always been important to me,” Van Helmond said. “The FLO that I’m in, ASSIST [Aggies Selflessly Serving in Shaping Tomorrow], is a community service based FLO, so it made sense to do Shack-A-Thon. And I’m really glad to be able to surround myself around people who think likewise while at Texas A&M.”

Zach Huebschman, political science sophomore, serves as the Give-Back chair for Freshmen Leaders Advancing in Service and Honor. Huebschman said the ultimate mission and goal of Shack-A-Thon can be obtained with a strong sense of campus unity.

“It’s not even just about FLO participation, it’s about the Aggie community coming together to solve a problem that’s growing exponentially,” Huebschman said. “Homelessness is a really big problem around the world and we’re trying to use Shack-A-Thon to allow our freshmen to give back while understanding the need for affordable housing. Organizations should come together and help one another to give back whatever we can in order to make the world a better place.”

Huebschman encourages the student body to visit the “shacks” and speak to the students participating in order to learn about homelessness in the area.
“Come and check it out, we’ll have speakers throughout the week,” Huebschman said. “I’ll be out in Rudder Plaza, come knock on the shack, say hello, and take pictures, it will help raise awareness for this great cause so come and learn more about it.”

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