Q&A with David Jendras ’08 and Andrew Neidhardt ‘09 about Habitat For Humanity.
What They Do:
Since last year, they completed two Troy homes and look to finish another this semester. They also take an annual spring break trip to help build a home somewhere else in the country.
David Jendras ‘08
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Has been involved with the club since the middle of his freshman year, when he decided to take the Habitat spring break trip to Virginia.
Hometown: Garden City, NY
Andrew Neidhardt ‘09
Major: Undeclared Engineering
Attended the overnight Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond Habitat for Humanity trip, and has been involved with the club ever since.
Hometown: Accord, NY
Who joins your club?
People who enjoy working and getting things done, and also helping out members of the community who are less fortunate. David
People who want to make a real difference in the world. Habitat gives people the opportunity to get your hands dirty and change someone’s life, instead of just talking about changing the world. Andrew
Describe a typical get-together or activity.
Most typical would be a build on a Saturday. People arrive in the morning, sign in and get an overview of the work that is planned for the day by the contractors on site. Then ladders are raised and tool belts are fastened as volunteers get down to work. Lunch is eaten around noon and is sometimes provided by the club. Conversation about the various backgrounds of the volunteers and their varying work experience usually ensues. After lunch, work is continued until mid afternoon when people pack up for the day. Volunteers are allowed to come and go as they please during the day, so they don’t have to stay the entire time. David
Saturday builds we basically meet in the union, walk down to the house, talk to the other volunteers, and find out what work they'd like us to do. Then we work until lunch, have lunch, and keep working. We get to the house at about 10 and go home between 3 and 4. Andrew
What sets your club apart from the rest?
It changes lives in a concrete and tangible way. Andrew
The structure of our organization is different from others. There are about 400 people on our general email list and each week of building maybe 5-10 people show up. Throughout the course of a year, maybe 100 different people go to builds. (There numbers are guesses). For administration, there is a steering committee of about 5 officers that keeps in contact with the Rensselaer County HFH about the current and upcoming builds, and also organizes fundraising, advocacy, and other volunteering efforts throughout the year. There is a general body meeting once a semester for the steering committee to inform the general members of upcoming events. David
Does your club give you a chance to be involved in a greater community (outside from RPI)?
Absolutely! I think it's clear that everything we do is about the greater community. Andrew
Most of our efforts are focused outside RPI by building homes in the local Troy community, or in Albany, or farther away during Spring Break trips. Spring Break trips have included Mechanicsville, VA, Easley, SC, Johns Island, SC, and Lenoir, NC. We also work on fundraising and advocacy campaigns in the local community to raise money and awareness about the HFH mission. David
Are you gaining skills that will help you when you leave RPI?
Hands on skills of various building aspects in a home (any of the many skills learned during construction). Also teamwork skills and interpersonal communication skills. David
I'm definitely gaining teamwork skills, as well as basic repair skills that will definitely be useful one I own my own house. Andrew
Learn More: Habitat For Humanity Campus Chapter