University Housing’s Habitat for Humanity Build programs allow UT students the opportunity to venture beyond campus walls to experience what it’s like to make a difference in the lives of real families in the Knoxville community. During several weekends each spring semester, students work alongside other community partners, including the future homeowners, to build a Habitat House. UT’s participation began in 1997 and involves approximately 145 students each year. In addition, the Resident Assistants raise the $40,000 that each Habitat Covenant Partner, including UT, must contribute for their share of the house.
Community partners include Habitat for Humanity, new habitat home owning families, UT students and UT Housing staff members.
Throughout the build, students are provided with opportunities to work directly with community organizations and individuals, including prospective homeowners and their families. The students learn first-hand that by collaborating and working together towards the same goal, it is possible to positively impact and change one family’s life forever and is a life-changing learning experience for the students.
Impact on Community
As a direct result of this partnership, 12 families in the Knoxville area now own their own homes. These families have to first earn the home by finishing 500 “sweat equity hours,” which every member of the family can contribute towards, to earn the right to build a house. Once they earn their homes, families are provided with a 20-year, interest free mortgages.
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