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Dec. 6, 2007
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - USC Upstate has long since been a key figure in helping the Spartanburg community through outreach volunteer efforts. On December, 4, the Woodruff family saw firsthand the result of Upstate's generosity when they moved into their new home after the University partnered with Habitat for Humanity in building a new home for deserving families. And the athletic department played a key role in the project as well.
More than 650 first-year students at USC Upstate helped build the Habitat house in the University's first ever Habitat Blitz. Students enrolled in University 101, an elective course that focuses solely on first year student success by providing students with the tools and resources needed to make a smooth transition into college, participated in the Habitat Blitz.
The athletic department played a key role in the project as well. The department was a key sponsor in the project. Over 100 student-athletes, coaches and athletic administrators volunteered over 350 man hours to the project. Their efforts, along with the over 650 individuals assisting in the project, help make a family's dream come true.
"I have always dreamed of owning a home and never thought it was possible until now," said Patricia Woodruff. "This is truly a blessing for my children and me. We are so happy and so very proud."
Louise Ericson, director for the Center for Student Success at Upstate, oversees the University 101 program and helped coordinate the Habitat Blitz project. The project kicked off in late September with a temporary construction site on the USC Upstate campus. Students worked in three-hour shifts before the house was transported to its permanent site on West Henry Street where shift work continued at a quick pace.
In addition to the man hours working on the house, students also participated in fundraising activities for the project. Courtney Tate, a freshman on the softball team, led the way for athletics in the fundraising activities, securing over $800 from friends and relatives in her hometown of Kings Mountain, N.C. She was recognized as the Top Student Fundraiser.
"I went home one weekend and gave a short speech to my church, Patterson Grove Baptist, about what USC Upstate was trying to do," said Tate. "If it wasn't for the giving hearts of my church family, then it would have never been possible. But they are extremely giving, and anytime I come to them with a project like this they always are willing to help out."
Habitat for Humanity of Spartanburg is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry that builds simple, decent, affordable houses in partnership with Spartanburg families. Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to join us in building houses together in partnership with families in need. Almost always first-time homeowners, these families contribute hundreds of hours of "sweat equity" and pay a 20 year, no interest mortgage. For more information, visit http://www.habitatspartanburg.org.