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Biotechnology with the Bioinformatics Option
Central Islip NY

The Joy of Sledgehammers

Sade Fridy on Tuesday, 13 January 2009. Posted in Clubs, Community Service, Student Life

Yes, you read that correctly.

I am a member of Habitat for Humanity (HFH) here at RIT and I'm sure you're now asking yourself, "Doesn't Habitat build houses? Not tear them down?" Well, we do both. Over the weekend I worked on a house out in Livingston County (That's about a 40 minute drive for those of you who, like myself, don't know upstate New York very well). The house was what you'd call a "rehabilitation," that is, it is a house that for one reason or another is no longer being inhabited and so was bought by HFH. Once HFH owns the house they can "gut" it (emptying it, and tearing down the walls) and remodel it for a family that needs it. The house that I worked on had caught on fire (it's old owners are safe, I assure you) from a neighboring house but was not completely engulfed. In fact most of the house looked completely fine. The bulk of the damage was on the side that caught fire and on the inside of the house (from the heat and smoke).

Front of house


Burnt side of the house

When you go on a build, you never really know what you're going to be doing so, I was happy to find out that'd we would be doing deconstruction that day (I've worked on a "rehab" house before so I knew what deconstruction entailed). They basically give you hammers and say "destroy," but if you're lucky, you get a sledgehammer...


I got a sledgehammer :D.

I worked on the upper floor, taking down the inner walls and with all the broken pieces of sheet rock and wood, I'm pretty sure we filled up two dumpsters.

Once the walls were down (easy work for a sledgehammer Tongue out) I helped rip up the carpet but with the combination of the heat from the fire and the cold temperature, the carpet was fused to the floor pretty well. We were able to get a few strips up but had to leave a little early to avoid the snow storm.

Overall, it was a very productive day (I learned that I'm allergic to dust in large quantitiesLaughing). I plan on going back so there'll definitely be updates on the status of the house.

Comments (7)

  • Guest User

    Guest User

    14 January 2009 at 09:26 |
    That's awesome! Do many RIT students volunteer for community service kinds of work?
  • Richard Rockelmann

    Richard Rockelmann

    14 January 2009 at 10:10 |
    Some do, however, because of classes we are all constrained for time. But the weekends. HECK YES
  • Emily Okey

    Emily Okey

    14 January 2009 at 11:00 |
    There are a bunch of different opportunities on campus for community service, usually they are associated with certain organizations on campus. One of the best one's I've found so far was PB Jam where we basically spent an entire morning making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to give to homeless shelters and food banks.
  • Erin Hazeltine

    Erin Hazeltine

    14 January 2009 at 11:30 |
    I really want to get more involved in HFH. I was the main leader for my high schools community service group.
  • Emily Okey

    Emily Okey

    14 January 2009 at 11:55 |
    I keep getting emails from HFH but I never actually read them-- perhaps I should! As for the question above, lots of RIT students volunteer. I know there are always posters and such around campus talking about what's going on. One of the coolest projects I was involved in was the PB Jam which was basically an entire morning of making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that were sent to homeless shelters. I happened to meet someone there that worked for an organization called Foodlink and I was actually able to go downtown one weekend and volunteer in their warehouse.
  • Erin Hazeltine

    Erin Hazeltine

    14 January 2009 at 15:38 |
    yea, post Katrina I went to New Orleans and spent a week doing random assignments it was so rewarding, I think my favorite was de-molding a house literally taking a wire brush the size of a toothbrush and literally scraping away the mold on every piece of boarding... HARD HARD work but so rewarding!
  • Sade Fridy

    Sade Fridy

    14 January 2009 at 21:39 |
    Yea, every spring some of our members go on an alternative spring break trip. Last year they went to west virginia, I think. This year they're going to miami, FL. It is a lot of hard work, the weekend builds are also. We've done, landscaping, siding, roofing, dry walling, mudding that list goes on. If you're interested in becoming involved our next general meeting is on monday the 19th at 8pm in the SAU.

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