2012 Act! Speak! Build! Week recap
2012 Act! Speak! Build! Week recap
Youth Act! Speak! Build! for better housing solutions
By Julia Sellers
Florida State University’s Seminole Shack Showdown.
All photos by Ben Skudlarek
Each shack represents a continent.
The shacks’ walls became boards for facts about poverty and messages of advocacy.
Tallahassee, Fla. — These are not your normal advocacy activities. No suits and ties are required here, or even formal presentations with PowerPoint. Just a handprint in Habitat’s colors, or a pledge to sleep under the stars for a night is all that’s needed to make a statement.
On March 25, Florida State University’s Habitat for Humanity campus chapter kicked off Habitat Youth Programs’ annual Act! Speak! Build! Week. The events focus on student-initiated activities that aim to educate young people and their communities about Habitat for Humanity and poverty housing issues.
“It brings the message home and makes it more of a reality,” said Allene Korie, who organized the event. “The all-day activities really draw people in.”
“We just want people to know that this is what we’re passionate about and that although they may have other activities or passion, poverty housing affects everyone.”
During the month of April, 130 student groups led advocacy activities across their campuses. Last year, 84 groups participated.
The Seminole Shack Showdown is the chapter’s signature event, which features a four-day sleep out. The chapter partners with other student organizations to construct shacks representing each continent.
The shacks’ walls became boards for facts about poverty and messages of advocacy. During the week, each organization’s members slept on Union Green, next to the student activities center, as a 24-hour display on poverty housing.
Students signed up advocates through Build Louder, marking their stance with a handprint and a signature on a smaller home. The chapter has collected prints and signatures since World Habitat Day in October, 2011.
First-time participant Courtney Craig, 19, a member of Chi Alpha, a Christian fellowship, said she knew poverty housing was an issue in other parts of the world, but never made a correlation to Florida or the United States until Sunday’s event.
“We may be a bunch of college students, but we can still make an impact,” she said.
Throughout Act! Speak! Build! events, Advocacy director Jose Quinonez and Youth Programs staff will visit campuses to showcase Habitat’s global advocacy efforts.
“Young people are socially conscious and passionate about making their world better. They do not want to be passive, they want to be invested and for adults to provide opportunities for their voices to be heard,” said Cody Logsdon, youth volunteer engagement manager.
“I am so proud to work for an organization like Habitat that knows the value in having an event like Act! Speak! Build! Young people are mobilized to participate in advocacy activities, such as letter writing or online campaigns, where they are hopefully changing attitudes and policies around the need for affordable housing.”
2012 Act! Speak! Build! events
- The University of Minnesota treats their campus to a flash mob dance to tease a viewing of “Slumdog Millionaire.”
- The University of Virginia shares importance of Act! Speak! Build! with community.
- Kindergarten students at the Notre Dame Academy Elementary School in Los Angeles create letters for partner families and learn about poverty housing through Habitat BINGO.
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