Pennsylvania students help Habitat - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pennsylvania students help Habitat

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By Jay Polk - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Volunteering for construction work is not what most people imagine when they think about Spring Break, but for these students from Pennsylvania, this week was spent working in construction instead of working on a suntan. They're part of a program sponsored by Habitat for Humanity.

"It's the collegiate challenge," said Jeff Burtner, a Senior at the Univ. of Pittsburgh - Johnstown.

Students from the University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown and Penn State University have been refurbishing this house on Albany's south side.

"What we've been doing is demolition work today. We've been taking out drywall, removing all of the old building products so we can put in new building products," said Burtner.

Like most Habitat volunteers, they're not exactly pros at this sort of thing.

Chetan Safi, a Sophomore at Penn State said, "I did help make a fence for my friend six years ago, but nothing hard core like this."

But both schools have both done extensive volunteer work for the organization in the past. And both schools have multiple groups volunteering for Habitat this year.

Sherrie Rae, the Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown said, "two to Florida, Alabama and here."

And the hard work has paid off and where rotting walls once stood, now there is a new frame, where new walls will eventually go.

The students have worked on more than one house in this neighborhood this week.

"There's a house just across the street which they've also demolished inside and are re-doing. One about a block over and one that's kind of from the ground up that we were siding," said Rae.

And even though the two schools are normally rivals on the playing field, this week they've come together for a common purpose.

"We've all hung out, we've all gone to different places. We just put that aside, there's no need for that here, we're all friends," said Safi.

So whether it's Pitt, or Penn State, students from both schools will go back to their campuses knowing that they helped people here in South Georgia realize the dream of becoming home owners.

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