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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI College will welcome family to their newly built home

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500

KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 28, 2005 -- Next week, the University of Rhode Island College of Human Science and Services (HSS) and the South County Habitat for Humanity chapter will join Maria and Jeff Collins and their four children to celebrate the completion of their new home.

HSS faculty, staff and students, URI President Robert L. Carothers and Provost M. Beverly Swan, Senator Jack Reed, and other notables will attend the celebration. The event will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, at 7 Kent Avenue in Westerly.

The home dedication is the culmination of several years of volunteer work coordinated by the college with the help of the South County Habitat for Humanity. The college initiated the construction as a community service project in celebration of its 25th year and took the lead in raising the funds and the person-power needed to build the new home. Many volunteers, financial donors, and dozens of professionals contributed labor and materials.

"Our faculty, students and staff truly learned the meaning of teamwork and community service through this process," said HSS Dean Wm. Lynn McKinney. "This house became a unifying element in our college and through it we've learned a great deal about our community and ourselves. We are all very proud to have played a part in building the home-ownership opportunity for the Collins."

Soon after the dedication event, the Collins will move from their crowded two-bedroom, second-floor apartment to the new wheelchair-accessible home that will help with their disabled child.

The college's house-building effort involved orchestrating everything from raising the funds to physically raising the roof. The fundraising committee raised almost $40,000 with yard sales, a house-pin sale, several golf tournaments, and more. The college then organized and coordinated to provide the more than 15,000 hours of service to build the home. On Saturdays throughout the year, the project was staffed by about 20 students and others led by faculty and other staff. Associate Dean Susan Roush coordinated much of the effort and Human Development Assistant Professor Karen McCurdy served as the family liaison.

URI's College of Human Science and Services offers degree programs that prepare students for professions in three basic areas: teacher education, health-related fields, and fields evolving from the University's land-grant mission in home economics. The college currently enrolls about 2,000 undergraduate and 375 graduate students.

Welcome home: From left to right, Jeff and Maria Collins with their children in the kitchen of their new home with Dean Lynn McKinney (in back), professors Karen McCurdy and Susan Roush (front), and at far right, Jean Leo Gagnier, the vice president on the board of South County Habitat for Humanity.