WKU students give back over spring break


Kelley Holland

While many students are going home or off to the beach during spring break, a group of students involved with Habitat For Humanity will be headed to Decatur, Alabama to do volunteer work.

The trip is part of the Collegiate Challenge Program, run through Habitat for Humanity International. The program allows students to volunteer during their school breaks. It has been around since the 80’s and is offered throughout the year.

“This willingness to help others shows a great deal about the character of those individuals who have chosen this over going to the beach or any of a variety of options that may seem more enticing to college aged students,” Bryan Reaka, advisor of WKU’s chapter of Habitat, said in an e-mail. 


Reaka said trips like this build not only homes but stability and strength within a community. Students will learn about building houses as well as have the opportunity to work alongside others while helping people they have never met before.

Ivy Kadisak, a sophomore, is the current president for WKU’s Habitat chapter and will be the student leader on the trip. Although she has only been involved with the organization for about a year, she is immensely dedicated to it. 

“I think it’s a good opportunity for students because we often forget there are people struggling in poverty around us every day,” Kadisak said. “Any little thing you can do to help them makes you feel good.” 

Kadisak said the group will be putting together and painting shelves for the Restore, as well as building a storage building. She describes a Restore as a “Habitat Goodwill”; it collects donations of items like furniture and home goods to sell and fund the building of homes. The work will be done for the Morgan County, Alabama Habitat For Humanity affiliate. 

Kathleen Johnson, a senior, has done some work with local Habitat chapters while in high school, but this is her first time going on a trip.

“I have seen the way that Habitat projects can change neighborhoods and people’s lives, so I am glad I get the chance to help out,” Johnson said. 

Johnson said she thinks this is a good opportunity for hands-on service and she is excited to create something tangible, rather than just making donations or fundraising. 

“It’s cool to be able to get my hands dirty,” Johnson said. “I don’t even know how to use a hammer yet, so it should be a fun learning experience as well.”

Alexander Miller, a junior, has been a member of the WKU Habitat chapter since 2016 and has previously gone on two week long trips with the group. He said it’s a great opportunity to volunteer and develop skills in home building, as well as create a bond and fellowship with other students.

“As a college student, it’s easy to become hooked on giving to receive,” Miller said. “With Habitat and volunteering in general, it’s a good way to develop unconditional love and understanding towards those less fortunate than ourselves.” 

Features reporter Kelley Holland can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected].