The Habitat for Humanity at the University of Michigan (HFHUM) was founded in the fall of 1996 by then first-year graduate student, Michael A. Carr, and sophomore, Eric J. Allenspach.
Habitat for Humanity at the University of Michigan was founded as an official chapter of Habitat for Humanity International in 1996. At that time, there were only a handful of active members and a few activities. In 1999, our first student-built house was finally made possible, with the help of grants totaling $40,000 from Johnson & Johnson and Best Buy Co.
For the past fifteen years, the University of Michigan campus chapter has co-sponsored a house with other Ann Arbor organizations, but the University of Michigan sources remains the largest contributors. Throughout the year, we build with our Huron Valley affiliate and offer many opportunities for UM students to volunteer. We have helped over 300 student volunteers build on Habitat houses each year. Led by a Core of 15 students, our general active membership consists of about 40 students who have helped in committees, taking part in fundraisers, attending awareness events, and build days.
HFHUM has maintained three well-defined goals in which our efforts and activities are centered around. First, we coordinate volunteer labor for renovation of Habitat houses. This labor may include students, faculty, and staff from the University of Michigan, as well as Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti residents. Secondly, we raise funds for new Habitat for Humanity construction projects through various campus and community events, namely our annual Hab It Your Way Variety Show. Lastly, we educate the campus and community about homelessness and substandard housing issues.
Besides building, student members also volunteer on Sundays cooking and serving at the Delonis Center. Yearly events include a Beat OSU 5K Fun Run, Skate Night, Hab It Your Way Variety Show, restaurant nights, and bar nights. HFHUM also participates in campus-wide based activities such as Relay for Life and Community Service Coalition.
We are currently planning our seventeenth Collegiate Challenge, which is a week long spring break work trip to another part of the country, where we work alongside members of the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate on their building projects. Past destinations included cities in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Some accomplishments include participation in the 2003 Detroit Blitz Build, Habitat for Humanity International Best Practice Chapter Status in 2002 and 2003, and local fundraising in excess of $24,000 during the 2002-2003 year to contribute toward the Michigan House and helped offset our organizational expenses. During the 2005 Jimmy Carter Work Project, HFHUM was able to co-sponsor a house by raising in excess of $10,000 with the MBA program in addition to our annual fundraising needs. Volunteers from U of M participated during the incredible week and many more were able to help Habitat Detroit for the Blitz Build during the winter months. In 2013, we successfully attained the Ginsberg Student Initiative Grant from the Ginsberg Center to assist in our work with community partners.