IU students, faculty help build a home



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Dante Hodge, 17, works on the baseboard inside his future house. His mother, Tracey Hodge, is the buyer of the house. He wasn't that excited as his mom, "then we started putting the floor in, and I got super excited," Dante said. Anna Polovick and Anna Polovick

The work of more than 400 IU students and Habitat for Humanity will be presented in the form of a key when IU’s football team plays University of North Texas on Saturday.

For Tracey Hodge and her son Dante, this key will bring stability. A stadium filled with Hoosiers and students from the University of North Texas will witness the Hodge family’s goodbye to Section 8 housing after 10 years.

During a 10-day span that began Sept. 24, IU students, faculty and alumni joined forces with Whirlpool Corp. and Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County to create the fifth home built in this coalition in Bloomington.

Undergraduate and graduate students alike have helped create the current build and have come from more than 15 Kelley School of Business and IU campus organizations, according to an IU release.

The business school’s involvement with the non-profit agency allows the business school to represent its core values in a tangible form, said Idalene Kesner, dean of the Kelley School of Business.

In Monroe County, one in five people live in poverty. Kelley’s teamwork, service and leadership have combined to create lasting change for families and raise awareness of the importance of affordable housing in Monroe County, according to the University.

“I think because the University relies so much on the Bloomington community, the University has a responsibility to give back and make it a better place,” said Hillary Nolting, Kelley School of Business senior and president of the Alternative Break Program.

Nolting has been involved with other Habitat for Humanity builds and will spend a total of six hours on this specific home. Nolting sees the program as a chance to gain a different perspective on how much of an impact people can really make.

“I think due to the nature of being in Kelley and in higher education in general, we are a privileged group of people and to be able to make a difference in someone’s life or giving back in some way is a responsibility and obligation we have,” Nolting said. “To build not a house but someone’s future home gives a sense of satisfaction that cannot be reached in just the classroom.”

Clad in white hard hats for eight hours a day, volunteers have worked near Memorial Stadium and the Devault Center off 17th Street to build the home for a single mother and her son.

Hodge is a lifelong Monroe County resident and is an IU Health Bloomington Hospital employee, according the University.

To be eligible for the home, Hodge had to volunteer 250 hours herself. The home will be moved to its permanent spot Sunday.

Whirlpool has worked with Habitat for Humanity to help more than 80,000 families and is currently sponsoring multiple builds throughout the United States.

Whirlpool has also taken the initiative of donating a range and refrigerator to every new Habitat home in the United States and Canada.

“The relationships built, the sweat equity put in, the laughter and the new home for a mother and her son are all important things gained and experienced by Indiana University students, faculty and staff,” Nolting said.

Zachary Bailey, a current master of public affairs candidate in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, is involved with the board of the Hoosier Social Impact fund.

Students from the nonprofit made it a point to get involved with the build, Bailey said.

The Hoosier Social Impact fund is a nonprofit organization that works with small businesses in both Bloomington and internationally.

The idea of HSIF came from faculty members from the Kelley School of Business and Kelley’s Institute for Social Impact.

“I believe that it is important for all students to be involved in their communities to not only develop themselves and a sense of community awareness but to help improve the lot of others,” Bailey said.

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