What Happens in the Coop…

Leo Zhang

On the night of November 21, Habitat for Humanity transformed the O’Connor Campus Center (Coop) TV room into little Las Vegas as it hoped to raise money for its winter alternative break trips. In order for students and faculty to go on these excursions and look for ways to improve communities around the world, the organization needed to find ways to gather enough aid to send them to these locations. Habitat hoped that a casino night fundraiser would raise enough funds to cover the costs for these trips.

Going on an alternative break trip requires a donation to the site where the students will be working, as well as costs for food, lodging and transportation for their time there. Students are asked to pay for a small portion of the cost, but the majority of it is paid by Habitat through fundraising events and with help from the Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE). Getting a huge turnout and raising substantial funds is therefore needed to minimize the COVE’s cost as much as possible.

At the end of the night, Habitat for Humanity’s Casino Night was quite successful, with many students in attendance. According to co-president of Habitat for Humanity junior Lindsay Ward, the event raised a significant portion of what is needed to cover the trips. Currently, she and the rest of the Habitat team are working on further fundraising plans that will help pay off the rest of the cost for these important trips.

“Casino Night in the Coop” first started last year and has been going on for three consecutive semesters. Though the event was successful, the group is looking for other ways to raise funds.

“We are trying to think of some new, fresh ideas because the attendance has started to decrease a little bit,” Ward said.

Habitat at Colgate has participated in alternative break trips for many years now. It takes groups of students to other Habitat chapters across the country to broaden their perspectives and, of course, build houses. Recent break trips have gone to Kentucky and South Carolina. This year, Habitat has planned trips to Jefferson County, Texas for Hurricane Ike relief as well as to North Carolina. In addition to going across the country, Colgate’s Habitat chapter also works locally in Madison County. Colgate volunteers go to a nearby site on Saturday mornings and do repair work around the region, helping to build houses when these projects are available.

Besides Casino Night, the group of students going on the hurricane relief trip in Texas will be selling candy grams next week to raise some money for their trip.

Currently, Habitat for Humanity is organizing other fundraising events for local work.

“We are currently working on a study break fundraiser, helping to keep people sane as finals approach,” Ward said. “Keep an eye out for that in the Coop.”