By Andrew Dittmar
On Saturday, January 31st, the ninth Roanoke College Habitat for Humanity R-House was dedicated at 1401 Chapman Avenue in Roanoke.
The dedication was the culmination of the R-House build season. The season began during freshman orientation in August, when over six hundred freshmen Maroons dedicated time to work on the home in the lower Olin lot. The house was moved to its final home in the Hurt Park neighborhood downtown during the first week of September. Of the nine R-House projects, this was the sixth to be moved to the Hurt Park area.
Beginning the first weekend of September, groups of Roanoke students continued the building process every Saturday, doing everything from insulating the crawlspace to painting and even roofing a shed. In total, 103 Maroons continued the work. Though many came by of/on their own accord, the R-House also welcomed groups from Chi Omega, Alpha Phi Omega, and the men’s baseball team. The majority of continuing volunteers were members of the freshman class that started the project.
This year’s R-House family was the Kadariya family: Laxman, Pingala, their two children, and Laxman’s mother. The family is from Nepal, where Laxman and Pingala met in a refugee camp. They came to the Roanoke Valley in in January 2010. Habitat homeowners are required to do 300 hours of labor on Habitat homes, theirs and others, as a part of the program. Laxman, particularly, worked alongside Roanoke College students every week throughout the fall semester.
Roanoke College was represented by twenty-one students as well as a handful of administration. Jesse Griffin, director of the Center for Civic Engagement, spoke as Roanoke College’s sponsor. Kadie Duggan, president of the Habitat for Humanity chapter on-campus, presented a gift on behalf of the chapter and Alpha Phi Omega.
Daria Chicosky ’18 spoke on behalf of the freshman class to WDBJ7. “Seeing the family so happy and proud,” she said, “I worked side-by-side with them so just to see the finished product and see them finally in their new home is just a lot of good feelings.”
At one point during the dedication, Jeff Slinger, project manager, handed over the keys to the home to the Kadariyas, effectively making the house Kadariya property. A Habitat homeowner pays for their home on an interest-free mortgage. Habitat home ownership is a partnership between the family and the affiliate; over the next several years, Habitat will keep regular tabs on the Kadariya family, making sure they are well and their home is being properly maintained.
Though the R-House is complete, Habitat’s year continues onward. The group will be working on other projects throughout the Roanoke Valley as the affiliate needs. In addition, over spring break, a group of students will travel to work with Habitat for Humanity in Columbia, South Carolina.
Students interested in supporting Habitat are also invited to two fundraisers in the coming weeks. On February 18th, the group will be holding a night at Salem Pizza from 5:00 until 7:30, when a portion of the parlor’s profits will go to Habitat projects. On March 13th, Roanoke College’s a cappella groups will join forces for their spring concert, which will serve as a fundraiser for Habitat projects on campus and in the Valley.