RIT students embrace Service Week with a Framing Frenzy
Students partner with Habitat for Humanity to help build houses destined for Rochester
Kylie Pleakis had never hammered a nail into anything before her volunteer shift yesterday at Rochester Institute of Technology’s “Framing Frenzy,” but that didn’t stop her from helping build walls and frames for two two-story houses for Flower City Habitat for Humanity.
“I was a little nervous about it at first, but now I’m not,” said Pleakis, a fourth-year applied math major from Allegany, N.Y., who signed up after spending her spring break doing community service projects with other RIT students in Puerto Rico. “The atmosphere here is so enthusiastic. It’s great!”
She was one of 200 RIT students, faculty and staff members who participated in the construction as part of Service Week. The week provides dozens of opportunities for students to volunteer in community services, ranging from clothing, food, book and blood drives; cemetery and trail cleanup; and donating school supply kits to elementary students.
Framing Frenzy is also one of the “50 Acts of Kindness” events held this academic year to commemorate RIT’s 50th year at its Henrietta campus. The initiative encourages the RIT community to actively participate in the betterment of their communities through direct service, philanthropic giving and/or active participation in awareness-raising programs and events.
Organized by RIT’s Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, Framing Frenzy was held in three shifts, as dozens of students received information about Habitat for Humanity, then instructions on what they would be doing. Soon, students were placed in small groups, given a hammer and nail-filled aprons, and started pounding away. About 20 “hammer and saw” volunteer supervisors among them told them how to line up, hold and nail together the stacked lumber.
Once completed, the teams walked their frames to a pile, where they were erected into a makeshift house to show how big the 1,900-square-foot homes were. They’ll be built on Holworthy Street on Rochester’s west side and ready for move-in this time next year.
The future owner of one of the houses visited the scene and thanked the students for their work. She and her husband, refugees from Somalia, have nine children, including one with special needs. The family is currently living in different states, so she looks forward to her family living together again in their new home.
“She was so excited, she kept walking through what we had done, saying which rooms they would be,” said Meghan O’Neil, president of the RIT Habitat for Humanity club. “This is going to give her the opportunity to have her family together again.”
O’Neil said many of the 200 active students in the club spend each weekend building, installing dry wall, putting on siding and other projects for Habitat for Humanity homes on sites usually in Genesee County. But this event on the RIT campus introduces more students to the work they do.
“This event is big for the RIT community to come together to make an impact on the Rochester community,” said O’Neil, a fourth-year biochemistry major from Plaistow, N.H.
Andrew McPherson, a fourth-year electrical engineering major from Baldwin, N.Y., was one of several members of RIT’s varsity track team to volunteer hammering nails.
“I just wanted to do a nice thing for the community and also represent the track team,” he said.
The Flower City chapter of Habitat for Humanity has built or remodeled nearly 250 homes since 1984. The new homeowners, who are people who have a need for improved housing, purchase the homes after qualifying for a mortgage and agreeing to partner with Habitat for Humanity in future projects.
Flower City Habitat for Humanity CEO Matt Flanigan said RIT’s efforts will save them six weeks of construction time.
“We always have a great turnout here at RIT,” he said. “The volunteers are tremendous.”
May 14, 2019
RIT Esports competes with best colleges in the nation at ESPN Championships in Houston
A team of Hearthstone players represented RIT and joined 20 other top colleges at the first-ever ESPN Collegiate Esports Championship. RIT became one of the top four teams in the country and the three RIT student players received $7,500 in tuition scholarships.
May 10, 2019
RIT’s record 4,200 graduates challenged to ‘enrich the world’
Keynote speaker John Seely Brown, former chief scientist of Xerox Corp. and director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), told graduates during this morning's convocation ceremony that they are entering “the Imagination Age, an age that calls for new ways to see, to imagine, to think, to act, to learn and one that also calls for us to re-examine the foundations of our way of being human, and what it means to be human.”
May 10, 2019
Graduating sonography student urges colleagues to strengthen their grip for healthy career
Elena Zambito will graduate this May from RIT’s diagnostic medical sonography program, and she is already finding ways to enhance her new field. Her goal is to land a cardiac sonographer position at a leading research hospital like the Mayo Clinic and discover ways to reduce the high rates of injury among sonographers.
May 10, 2019
More than 500 students expected to graduate from RIT’s international campuses this spring
This year, more students will graduate from RIT’s international campuses than ever before. RIT’s campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai and Kosovo are expected to award degrees to more than 500 students, up from 369 degrees granted in 2017-18.