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Shackathon exposes students to substandard housing

Published on October 21, 2021

Shackathon exposes students to substandard housing

Habitat for Humanity fundraiser raises awareness

Ten Eastern Connecticut State University students slept on the lawn outside of Webb Hall in makeshift boxes for the annual Shackathon fundraiser on Oct. 19-20. Hosted by Eastern’s Habitat for Humanity club, Shackathon aims to bring awareness to the issue of substandard housing. Relying on donations of food and the protection of sleeping bags, boxes and tarps, the students attempted to step into the shoes of those without housing.  

The club raised more than $250 in donations, as members occupied Webb Lawn for 24 hours and engaged passersby in conversations about the issue of substandard housing and what they can do to help. The club also hosted their weekly meeting in the Shackathon area.  

“Our first-year students were a little hesitant,” said Club President Samantha Shatas, a junior majoring in psychology. Due to COVID-19, the event hasn’t taken place since the fall of 2019, when Shatas was a first-year student herself. The students fared better this year, as the temperatures at the 2019 event dropped to the 30s, while this year they stayed in the mid 40s. 

Many of the new members enjoyed the experience and found it to be impactful. “I had my sleeping bag, but I know a lot of people don’t even have that,” said sophomore Jessica Misenti. “Facing the cold in the morning really opened my eyes.” 

Along with food donations such as pizza for dinner and donuts in the morning, students slept in cardboard boxes supplied by the Christmas Tree Shop. Dinner was donated by Ken Larson after the club completed a mailing project as part of Hire-A-Habitater, where members of the club complete tasks for the community to earn donations for the club. Members were also able to speak to Provost Bill Salka, who stopped by with food and to hear from students.  

Eastern’s Habitat for Humanity club plans to continue giving back to the community, as they work on a current house-building project in Willimantic, and save up for their annual spring break trip to help in a out-of-state build.

Written by Molly Boucher

Categories: Student Activities