It’s college spring break time and of course that means “party.”

About 50 Duke University students chose New Bern as their getaway destination, and gathered this morning at the corner of North Cool Avenue and Cypress Street.

They wore hard hats, sweat shirts and jeans instead of swim suits. They hoisted hammers instead of booze.

The students are part of the 200-member Duke Campus Crusade for Christ, which is in town assisting with building a Habitat for Humanity house.

“We get to have the best of both worlds in terms of a fun spring break together and also a chance to serve the community and share some of God’s love with those around us,” said Pearce Godwin, a senior from Blowing Rock.

The foundation is in place for the fourth of 12 planned Habitat homes in the North Kool project. By midweek the students should have the flooring in place.
“It’s fulfilling to come out and use some of the gifts and abilities we feel God has given us to share with the community, like the family that will be able to live in this house,” Godwin said. “We all take a lot of joy and pride in being able to help people. And it’s fun for us, too. It’s not unwilling service because we have a good time working together for the greater good.”

Godwin has been on numerous off-campus projects, including work in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

“We’re not the only ones,” Godwin said. “There is another Christian fellowship that goes up to the Bronx every spring break, and even nonreligious organizations do some service. There are a lot of different people at Duke who’ve decided it would good to think about more than just our own fun for the week.”

Habitat volunteer coordinator Amanda Norwood said the student help was indicative of the volunteer backbone of the organization, which has built 42 houses in New Bern since 1989.

“We feel it is important to serve the community,” said Duke student team leader Michael Worsman, a 19-year-old sophomore from New Hampshire. “Overall, I think people appreciate that we are serving.”

Worsman’s father was a contractor, so he is familiar with construction. For many of the other students, the Habitat project becomes an outdoor classroom.
“Most of these people have absolutely no experience in what they are doing right now,” Worsman said, laughing amid the sounds of hammers and saws.

Bill Major, a River Bend retiree, has been Habitat’s materials coordinator since 1998. He has seen 26 houses built, and is always impressed by the youthful turnout.

“I think it’s wonderful. They’ve dedicated themselves to helping somebody out and I admire that,” he said. “It shows they have something on their minds other than a party.”

Source: Charlie Hall
March 10, 2008 – 3:49PM
Sun Journal

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