In five hours’ time, MTSU students managed to hammer together a little piece of Tennessee history.
Under the guidance of Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity, students and other volunteers participated Oct. 19 in the nonprofit organization’s inaugural panel build in the state. A panel build is a one-day event in which only the interior and exterior walls of a house are constructed.
From 9 a.m. until about 2 p.m. in the parking lot of the MTSU Campus Recreation Center, participants constructed the interior and exterior walls of a house for Zach and Nikki Newbold and their children, Zoe and Eli.
Construction is slated to start at the end of March. Dedication of the home at Castle and University streets in Murfreesboro is anticipated around the end of April.
“It’s really important for our students to see that it’s not just work that they’re doing,” said Jackie Victory, director of student organizations and service. “It’s not just physical labor. It’s not just their time, but, in the very end, it’s something where a family has a home where they didn’t truly have a home before.”
Each work shift for the panel build lasted 30 minutes, and about 15 volunteers were assigned to each shift. Even individuals with no construction or carpentry experience were welcomed. Some volunteered in groups, including some exercise science majors who savored the sunshine.
“We have to put some of our muscles to use loading some of these walls back onto the trailer so they can transport it and get it to somebody who needs it,” said Navaseon Norfork, a senior from Ripley, Tennessee.
“It was a nice experience,” said Dionne Gray, a sophomore from Memphis, Tennessee. “I had never done anything like that before, and it’s going to a good cause. So it was a lot of fun.”
“I didn’t think I could (do it) until I did it,” said Norfork. “You can do anything you put your mind to, I guess.”
For more information, contact Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity at 615-890-5877.
— Gina Logue (firstname.lastname@example.org)