MTSU students, volunteers hammer home altruism with Habitat panel build

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Ramsey Ferguson wants to finish his senior year strong by doing things that count.

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The MTSU senior along with other students and volunteers devoted time and dedication earlier this week to complete a "panel build" on the parking lot of the Campus Recreation Center that will eventually result in a Habitat for Humanity house for a local family in need.

"Doing something like this and being able to donate time and energy is really rewarding," said Ferguson, who serves as president of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

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The MTSU Office of Student Organizations and Service teamed up with Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity as part of a project that doesn't require any construction or carpentry experience from willing participants.

This is MTSU's seventh Habitat project and Tuesday, Nov. 14, marked the second "panel build," which is a one-day event in which only the interior and exterior walls of a house are put together for future construction.

"It's a way to get our students into the community and give back," said Jackie Victory, director of Student Organizations and Service. "One of my favorite parts about this is seeing students understand that this will be somebody's house one day and they (recipients) get to hang pictures and make memories."

Jonathan Greer will be the recipient of this year's house and had no problem rolling up his sleeves to help build his future residence.

"It's an honor to even be in this program, but it's even more of a blessing," Greer said. "I appreciate everything."

He's lived in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, his entire life and wants to improve the lives of his two children, as he recounts what his grandparents did for him.

"This is the reason I'm doing this ... to better our life similar to how my grandparents raised me," he said.

The house will be finished in the spring and dedicated in late April.

"I like seeing the difference it makes in students," Victory added. "You can see they leave a little bit different -- they're like, 'that was fun' and they get to meet the homeowner and see what they did."

Amongst the volunteers during the five-hour panel build were Nashville-based musician Rick Monroe and sister trio Southern Halo made up of Christina, Hannah and Natalia Morris.

The MTSU Office of Student Organizations and Service is part of the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership and provides volunteer and community service opportunities to students. Learn more athttp://www.mtsu.edu/involve/ or call 615-898-5812.

For more information Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity, call 615-898-5877.

Below: MTSU students and volunteers work Tuesday, Nov. 14, during a "panel build" on the parking lot of the Campus Recreation Center that will eventually result in a Habitat for Humanity house for a local family in need. (MTSU photo by Jayla Jackson)

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