Every year, Habitat for Humanity holds the event “Seminole Shack Showdown” on Union Green. This year there were several student organizations who came together to promote awareness for the current substandard housing and homelessness issues across America, as well as raise money for the cause. The event acts as a simulation for poorer level housing by asking students to live in a shack that they made from common materials such as tarp and wood. Construction began at 9 am on March 23 and the shacks stayed up until deconstruction on Wednesday March 26. This means that for almost three says participants stayed in the shack for twenty-four hours a day during several days of cold, hot, and sometimes even rainy weather!
As shacks began to be built, temperatures began to go down. Even with their sleeping bags, warm pjs, extra blankets, and each other for warmth participants still had a hard time warming up to the situation. But others were able to see exactly what the event was all about: understanding. Participant Rebecca Grbinich remarked “There is something special about spending the nights with your friends in the freezing cold. You really learn from it.”
Participants learned that this is how no human being should live. As psychologist Abraham Maslow identified in his “Hierarchy of Needs,” physiological needs are the most basic needs that everyone strives to achieve. This means that before we worry about love, belonging, self-esteem, etcetera, we first strive to put a roof over our heads. Without a stable roof, people have little to no chance to achieve many things that we consider to be a basic human need, such as love and belonging.
Many people learned other important ideas from the event. Participant Antoinette Janus remarked on how it brought her group together: “When I thought the most difficult part of the project would be manning the shack, everyone stepped up and took the initiative, manning the shack with little to no asking from my behalf. The other thing I learned was the ability and dependability of people. This project would not have been as successful as it was without the help of those involved. I have not seen a group of people be so excited over something so simple in a long time, so to see this small service project become such a successful project reminded me that in the end, everything is worth the struggles and stress.”
This event brought together students of many organizations to make a small community. In only a couple of days, those who were strangers became acquaintances and those who were acquaintances became friends.
Participating organizations paid $120 to sponsor a shack and accepted donations for the cause as well, resulting in hundreds of dollars being raised in a short period of time to help promote awareness for the issue of substandard housing and homelessness in America. To follow Habitat for Humanity at FSU, go here.