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Out of the classroom and into the community

For the day, business department faculty and students traded in lectures and laptops for hammers and staple guns. On a crisp, sunny Friday morning instead of heading to class, they headed to a Habitat for Humanity Mesa County jobsite.

Throughout the seven-hour build day, 17 CMU volunteers worked on a couple of different Habitat for Humanity homes. Each of the homes were at different stages in the build process.

“They (Habitat for Humanity) give you a lot of responsibility and trust,” said junior business marketing student Allexys Hickman. She said volunteers helped paint, attached gutters and assisted on numerous other projects.

Associate Professor of Accounting Suzanne Owens helped install metal flashing around the foundation of one of the homes and connected trusses. Business finance student Austin Gonsalves worked in a harness on one of the roofs and assisted with framing work.

Gonsalves first heard about the Habitat for Humanity build day in one of his business honors classes. “I thought it was a super cool opportunity. And I figure the more opportunities you can take advantage of while in school the better.”

The senior took time away from studying and from building his motocross gear company, Sofa Brand. A company he has been working on while at CMU. Currently he is finding investors and plans to launch in March 2019.

The business department is not the only CMU group to partner with Habitat for Humanity Mesa County. In years past, CMU Residence Life connected with Habitat for Humanity to have the nonprofit organization pick up donations from residence halls at the end of the school year. Kappa Sigma fraternity members have volunteered on three separate builds including one earlier this month, and they helped clean the Habitat for Humanity construction house. The CMU Admissions Office ambassadors will join Habitat for Humanity in October at their ReStore here in Grand Junction to help prepare the store for the busy, upcoming holiday season.

“We love working with CMU departments and students. They bring heaps of energy, comradery and laughs to whatever tasks they take on,” said Habitat for Humanity Mesa County Marketing Director Jennifer Harris.

The local branch of Habitat for Humanity builds four to five homes a year. One of the houses the business department helped build will be dedicated to a family in November and another in December.

Harris said they absolutely could not do it without their volunteers. “Last year we were fortunate enough to have the helping hands of 1,118 volunteers which accounted for over 32,000 hours. We truly could not do it without the support.”

For a couple of years now the CMU business department has looked for ways to reach out and support the community. Owens said this build was a great opportunity for students to see faculty in a new setting and to get involved with the community.

“We (CMU students) are active community members that want to get involved. We care about what is happening in this community,” said Hickman, who is the president of the Student Center for the Public Trust, an ethical leadership club on campus.

When Owens returned to class the following Monday students who were not a part of the build were already asking when the next one would be and how they could get involved.