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Austin Peay launches new Habitat for Humanity chapter

Werent you surprised when you found out Austin Peay didnt have a chapter of Habitat for Humanity?

Dr. Robin Reed, assistant professor and chair of chemistry, admits he was a little surprised when he realized the void a few months ago. Then he decided to see it as an opportunity to send the APSU community out into the Clarksville community to give back to the area that gives so much to us.
Weren't you surprised when you found out Austin Peay didn't have a chapter of Habitat for Humanity?

Dr. Robin Reed, assistant professor and chair of chemistry, admits he was “a little surprised” when he realized the void a few months ago. Then he decided to see it as “an opportunity to send the APSU community out into the Clarksville community to give back to the area that gives so much to us.”

Reed organized a Habitat for Humanity meeting last month to create a campus chapter. Diana Ward, executive director of Clarksville-Montgomery County Habitat for Humanity, and Nellye Lathon, president of the local Habitat board, were present to guide the chartering process.

“We had about 20 folks in attendance, but another 25 people and one fraternity (Kappa Sigma) expressed great interest,” says Reed.

Reed became involved with Habitat for Humanity about a year and a half ago, when Ward spoke to his Sunday School class about beginning a project in the community to raise awareness and money for the local chapter. As a result, Reed's church started collecting aluminum cans to recycle and raise funds.

Through that process, Reed became connected with Bi-County Solid Waste Disposal, which designed and donated a rollaway bin for can collection. The bin is located behind the local Habitat office on Pageant Lane. After helping his church raise nearly $2,000 for Habitat, Reed's thoughts turned toward beginning a campus chapter.

“I am certain that there are current student organizations that at some point or another have volunteered with Habitat for specific projects, but I saw the need to start a campus chapter so that any student who wishes to make a difference in the housing situations of people in the Clarksville area could become involved,” says Reed.

Austin Peay's chapter will be a student-led, student-run organization, but any member of the APSU community can be involved, including faculty, administration, staff and alumni.

Reed says they are in the process of registering the organization with APSU and applying for chapter membership with Habitat for Humanity International. “This process is much more involved,” says Reed. “We will identify a core group of students to complete the application process, establish a number of committees for various activities of the chapter, participate in phone interviews with the Habitat for Humanity U.S. Campus Chapters and Youth Programs and develop action plans.

“After these processes are complete, the chapter will fundraise and participate in community events to raise awareness for Habitat, and participate in the actual building of houses for families that have been pre-selected by the local Habitat affiliate.”

Reed adds, “Our main focus will be to support the efforts of the local affiliate, but there also are events designed specifically for college students. Collegiate Challenge, for example, is an alternative spring break experience in which chapters travel away from their home location to participate in a massive building effort with students in other campus chapters.”

The next APSU Habitat for Humanity meeting will be held at 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 9, in the UC. The guest speaker will be Kathi McPherson, campus chapter and youth program manager for the Mid-America area of Habitat. “She will provide the details of how to become organized as a campus chapter and how to apply for membership with Habitat International,” according to Reed.

For more information, or to be added to Reed's Habitat for Humanity mailing list, e-mail him at reedr@apsu.edu.
—Rebecca Mackey