Roanoke College students build a Habitat for Humanity house in college parking lot

SALEM, Va. — On Saturday, August 26, returning students, parents and the community will build a two-bedroom Habitat for Humanity home in just five days.  Roanoke College is changing its normal Service Day projects and bringing it home to “R House.”  R House will be the first Habitat home to be built as part of a college orientation.  It will be built on Roanoke’s campus parking lot at the corner of College Avenue and E. Clay Street. Rain or shine, students, faculty and staff will work everyday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from August 24th to the 29th. 

By Tuesday evening, August 29, all 500 incoming freshman will have worked several hours on R House, and it will be ready to be moved to its permanent destination in Northwest Roanoke.  “The whole notion of orientation is welcoming people in a community,” says Jesse Griffin, director of community service, and by having a project that allows everyone to work towards one goal, will create a sense of community.”  Construction will be completed there, and the keys then handed over to the homeowner, who was selected by Roanoke Valley Habitat for Humanity.

For 20 years, Roanoke College students have been building houses for Habitat for Humanity, starting in Columbia, S.C. and later in the Roanoke Valley.   Now, Roanoke College will be building its 11th house as they bring the Habitat effort to the campus.  Students are not only building a home, but are constructing community pride, ownership and success.  “Building a community creates the scene of a liberal arts education,” says Dean of the Chapel Rev. Paul Henrickson, “and one of the goals is to serve a free society and give them [students] a sense of pride.”

R House would not have been possible without the generous donation of Paul and Martha Higginbotham and a partnership among Habitat for Humanity of the Roanoke Valley, the Habitat chapter at Roanoke College, Corrugated Container Corporation, Roanoke College and Central South Carolina Habitat.

Roanoke College, the country’s second oldest Lutheran-related college, is an independent, co-educational, four-year liberal arts college. Roanoke is one of just 270 colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review names Roanoke as one of the “best in the Southeast.” Roanoke’s 1,900 students represent 41 states across the U.S. and 25 foreign countries.

For additional information, call the Roanoke College Public Relations Office at (540) 375-2282.