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Park/Centennial Scholar and PCC Sophomore, Sarah Paluskiewicz, Chairs 2013 Shack-A-Thon

Sarah Paluskiewicz at Shack-a-Thon 2013
Sarah Paluskiewicz at Shack-a-Thon 2013

Written by:  Sarah Paluskiewicz, Shack-A-Thon chair; Polymer & Color Chemistry Sophomore; Centennial Scholar; Park Scholar

Monday morning at 8am marked the beginning of the 23rd annual Shack-A-Thon, hosted by NC State’s campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity.  For one week the Brickyard will accommodate 20 shacks each built and manned around the clock by university student groups. This year’s fundraising goal has been set at a record $30,000, which is about half of the cost to build a new Habitat home. All the proceeds will go directly to Habitat for Humanity of Wake County and the 32 homes they will be constructing this year.

On Sunday, all twenty student groups came out to the Brickyard to build their interpretation of a shack. As Shack-A-Thon chair, it has been exciting for me to see this event through the making. However, build day is when everything gets nailed, glued, and locked together. Each shack is competing against the others to get in the prestigious top four fundraising shacks. The incentive is a guaranteed placement in Shack-A-Thon next year, first choice at a shack location, and supplied wood for building.

A little over one year ago, I fortuitously expressed my interest about joining Habitat for Humanity to an upperclassman on campus. Little did I know that she was the current president of NC State’s campus charter of Habitat for Humanity. As an excited and motivated freshman, I was thrilled to fill the vacant fundraising officer spot. I fell in love with Shack-A-Thon last year and was asked to chair it this year. I am working with 15 other officers in Habitat to organize and facilitate this event. Each shack could have on the upwards of 50 people that have contributed and participated. It’s exciting to know the event is directly touching close to 1,000 NC State students and many more are impacted throughout the week.

Shack-A-Thon has such value because it is a fun way to bring awareness to improper housing and impoverished living. Additionally, there are many opportunities for camaraderie and publicity for all the student groups that are involved. It’s wonderful to share the mission of Habitat for Humanity with these groups, but also to learn about their causes and passions. I continue to marvel at the uniqueness and group expression reflected in each shack.

Elevated view of Shack-a-Thon 2013
Elevated view of Shack-a-Thon 2013

In particular, I am very excited by how well the Textiles shack represents the college. After I planted the idea to Greater Good Textile Group for a Wilson College of Textiles’ shack, they quickly ran with it. First the other textile student groups were pulled in and then it was opened up to the entire college. I think it’s a testament of our tight knit community that we could pull together a bid and a shack in a matter of weeks.

The Wilson College of Textiles’ shack is sporting weather resistant fabrics donated by Arden Companies. Several TATM students quickly worked to sew the pieces into a modified tent. A wooden frame is being used as the support structure. It is, perhaps, the coziest shack on the Brickyard with carpeting and a plethora of pillows and cushions. Needless to say, as Shack-a-Thon chair, I made sure that the Textiles’ shack had one of the fire extinguishers that are scattered throughout the village.

During the week shacks must think of interesting ways to raise money. Common fundraisers include bakes sales, serenades, and pet-a-puppy. Some of the fundraising efforts of the Textiles’ shack proudly showcase the textiles theme. I have heard rumors of students making hair ties/ribbons, headbands, and screen-printed t-shirts.  It’s nice to know that little pieces of our creativity, and ultimately our college, are being spread throughout the university. A fashion show sponsored by Pack Fashion is tentatively scheduled for Thursday at 12:20pm. The aisles in between the shacks will serve as a runway for the show. Shack-A-Thon is definitely at its best when student groups are active and creative in their fundraising effort.

On the first morning of Shack-A-Thon, a woman that would like to buy a Habitat home approached us and asked about the process. Who knows, perhaps it will be her house that we have helped sponsor.

As of Monday night, over $15,000 had already been raised. This much money has never been brought in so early on; and we also have never surpassed half of our goal on the first night. I think it’s no longer a matter of if we will hit $30,000, but when. Although Shack-A-Thon will end on 5pm Friday the 27th, online donations will remain open until October 5th at which point the final rankings will be established.