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04-28-2015

Clarkson University Students Help Habitat for Humanity Project

Ever wonder what it takes to get 18 Clarkson University students awake and on the road by 8 a.m. on a Saturday so they can work outside on a cool, damp April day? That's easy -- just the chance to help out.

Front row from left: Sam Berry, Ryan Birchenough, Josh Miller, Jacob 'Beard' Land, Mitchell Laughlin, Shane Garrabrant, Danny Angileri, Brian Guntharp, James Temple, and Michael Hough. Back row from left: Jake Tyo, Nathan Watkajtys, Gregg Steiner, Travis Decker, Orri Antonsson, Alan Disbro, Ryan LaClair, and Christopher Laubisch of Engineers Without Borders.Earlier this month, members of Delta Upsilon social fraternity and one student from the University's chapter of Engineers Without Borders drove an hour east to Malone, N.Y., where they are among the volunteers on the community's 13th Habitat for Humanity project.

While most of the projects have been new builds, this one at 26 Willow St. involves rehabilitating an abandoned home that is believed to be more than 100 years old. When the project is completed, the two-story brick-and-wood structure will provide a low-cost, decent home to an eligible family.

“I always wanted to be a part of Habitat for Humanity,” says Josh Miller '16 of Delta Upsilon. “When I found out about this one, I knew we had to be involved. I'm hoping this can be an annual service project for us.”

The Clarkson students have been active on this project from the ground up. On April 11, they cleared the front yard of winter sand and salt, raked, uncovered the curbing and edged the sidewalk. They also hauled rocks and lumber, and worked with a volunteer crew from the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters out of Plattsburgh. Several students spent most of the day atop the roof, hammering away past lunchtime.

Jacob “Beard” Land '15 was one of them. When he climbed down the ladder with coils of rope draped over his shoulder, another volunteer asked if he has done much roof work before. He just smiled and replied no, but he enjoys rope courses and is not bothered by heights. As for the expertise he and the other students show, he politely says, “We're fast learners.”

Mitchell Laughlin '16 grew up in rural Newfield, near Ithaca, and swinging a hammer makes him feel at home. “I like building things and am really glad we're able to help out on this project,” he says. Pointing to the massive beams framing the outside wall of the house, he adds, “These are like barn beams. You can imagine the work that went into this.”

While Engineers Without Borders has an affiliation with Ecuador, the students can't travel all the time. “This is an opportunity to help close to home,” Christopher Laubisch '15 says.

Lisa Brown of Malone coordinates the North Country Habitat for Humanity projects, while Maurice Woods is the project manager. Both of them are grateful for the cheerful and able-bodied assistance from the students.

High-school students from Franklin-Hamilton-Essex BOCES work on the house during the week as part of their studies, then on the weekends, Habitat volunteers take over.

The Clarkson team worked alongside the professional carpenters, retiree Linda Bouissey, and Brown and Woods. Another Habitat volunteer, Melissa Holmes, brought lunch for the workers. She earned compliments from the college men for her steaming hot chili, homemade corn bread, and thick chocolate cookies.

As the students are proud to point out, Delta Upsilon is a social organization that embraces community service. Members helping in Malone include: Sam Berry '18, Ryan Birchenough '16, Josh Miller '16, Jacob “Beard” Land '15, Mitchell Laughlin '16, Shane Garrabrant '16, Danny Angileri '18, Brian Guntharp '18, James Temple '16, Michael Hough '16, Jake Tyo '16, Nathan Watkajtys '16, Gregg Steiner '16, Travis Decker '18, Orri Antonsson '17, Alan Disbro '17, and Ryan LaClair '16.

North Country Habitat for Humanity welcomes all volunteers and a wide variety of assistance is needed. For more information, look on Facebook or the website at www.nchabitatforhumanity.com.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University students from the social fraternity Delta Upsilon and from the Clarkson chapter of Engineers Without Borders are helping North Country Habitat for Humanity with its project in Malone, N.Y. Front row from left: Sam Berry, Ryan Birchenough, Josh Miller, Jacob 'Beard' Land, Mitchell Laughlin, Shane Garrabrant, Danny Angileri, Brian Guntharp, James Temple, and Michael Hough. Back row from left: Jake Tyo, Nathan Watkajtys, Gregg Steiner, Travis Decker, Orri Antonsson, Alan Disbro, Ryan LaClair, and Christopher Laubisch of Engineers Without Borders.

[A photograph for media use is available http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/delta-upsilon-habitat.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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