By Jasmine Porter
Collegiate Challenge participant and Gustavus Adolphus College sophomore
Throughout high school, I always hoped to participate in a Habitat for Humanity opportunity. My chance finally presented itself last year, my first year in college, with a spring break trip offered in late March at Gustavus. At the start of the trip, I only knew one girl — a friend I signed up with — but by the end of the trip, I had created close friendships with everyone.
We took two separate 15-passenger vans from St. Peter, Minn., down to Laredo, Texas. The drive was long and uncomfortable. Twenty-six hours really allowed us to get to know one another. Once there, we helped to build the framework of two different houses, as well as put the siding up for one. Since that experience, feelings of gratitude, accomplishment and excitement for my next trip have remained with me.
Next week, I’m traveling to Bluffton, S.C., as a team leader. We have approximately 30 volunteers, and we will be working on the construction of houses, similar to the Laredo trip last year. Many of the students on my team are excited and thankful for the opportunity this work trip allows us because it satisfies our desire to travel and our enthusiasm to learn and experience something outside of our comfort zone.
I choose to participate in the Habitat trips because of the unforgettable life experiences, the sense of pride and accomplishment that is instilled in everyone at the end of the week, and because of the friendships we develop.