Once a year, a few UCF clubs get together under the umbrella of the campus Habitat for Humanity chapter and create some makeshift buildings, all in the name of raising money for charity.
This event, called Shack-A-Thon, is in its sixth year since being brought to the UCF campus.
“Different student organizations come out and build shacks, and the goal is just to attract students to come, vote [on the best shack], and hopefully give us donations,” said Mike Davies, the 2014 Shack-A-Thon director. “We are giving those donations to Habit for Humanity of greater Orlando,”
Each year, there are certain clubs in attendance. For 2014, there was the College Democrats, The UCF Quidditch Team called the “Nearly Headless Knights”, The Rock Climbing Club, Honors Congress, Phi Delta Theta, and the I.D.E.A.S. (Intellectual Decisions for Environmental Awareness Solutions) club. All of these different clubs took their own spin on the type of ‘shack’ that they decided to build.
“We took an invasive species of bamboo and used that instead of plywood,” said Kelly Erhart, member of the UCF I.D.E.A.S club. “Basically the goal of our shack and our club is to show people that we don’t have to use all new materials and be so wasteful.”
President Callye Foster agreed with Erhart, stating that the event wasn’t just for raising money but for promoting environmental awareness.
“We were focused on sustainability when building our shack. We were just trying to go with something out of the box.”
Other than students voting on their favorite shack, there were also events going on such as live music and a rock wall was even brought out onto the Memory Mall area so people could test themselves to see how far they could climb. All of this was in hopes that students would drop some of their loose change into a collection jar.
“They [Habit for Humanity] are building a community of habitat homes called Butler’s Preserve, so the money we raise goes towards that,” said Davies.
According to their website, the Orlando division of Habitat for Humanity has already completed a housing development in the Orlando area called Staghorn Villas. All of the homes have undergone numerous expenses to make sure that they are all environmentally friendly, such as being energy and water efficient.
“The now complete, 3.9 acre neighborhood will provide affordable homes for 58 local families,” The Habitat for Humanity website said. “The community features 10 buildings, each of which includes four to eight town homes surrounded by green spaces and play areas”
The Honors Congress fashioned their shack to look like the famous banana stand from the hit show Arrested Development. In order to raise some extra money for Habitat for Humanity, they were selling bananas with a myriad of toppings available to put on them, such as Nutella and peanut butter.
“Instead of simply donating money, you are doing something physical, something tangible,” said Akshita Parupalli, a member of Honors Congress. “It feels like you are helping people out.”
This year’s winners were:
Fan Favorite: I.D.E.A.S.
Top Donations: Honors Congress
Most Motivated: Rock Climbing Club
Most Money Raised: Rock Climbing Club
By Vinny Sottile