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Destler Dodge

Cedric Bowen is going to receive a home built by Habitat for Humanity just in time for Thanksgiving. The adviser for RIT's Habitat for Humanity chapter , Jeffery Herrings, and the director of the Center for Religious Life brought up this opportunity to give back to the RIT community. "These people do so much to make college life possible the way we have it, and it's just great to give back," said Evan Richter, a fifth year Mechanical Engineering Technology student and president of RIT's Habitat for Humanity. Bowen is an employee of RIT Parking and Transportation. "He's a hard worker. He is a good guy, too," said Richter.

"It was pretty exciting. We were in the process of purchasing a home, and then my wife was online and found out about Habitat," Bowen said. There are certain criteria that a family needs to meet before Habitat for Humanity will take them on for a project: they have to be within a certain income range and size and demonstrate significant need. Bowen, his wife and their four children are living with his sister-in-law in Henrietta, and they had outgrown the two-bedroom apartment. After going through an interview process and getting accepted by Habitat for Humanity, the Bowen family had to put in 500 hours of "sweat equity." Richter explained that "Sweat equity is work that you put into the house yourself."

The house is being built in Livingston County, about 25 minutes away from campus."It's a nice small town, right off of Main Street, real nice community feel," said Richter. The land was donated to Habitat, and they decided to use it for this project. Habitat started working on the home in late May, and it is projected to be finished by the end of this month. "We want to have him in the house before Thanksgiving," Richter said. 

Bowen was very thankful for all the work that the community put into his home. "Everybody is there at the house making it happen," said Bowen. He expressed how amazing he felt the whole process was. The community put in all the building time they could, and together they made a home. "This is how every home should be built." Richter said that Bowen seemed surprised that people would donate their time like this. "It was nice to hear. That is why we do it, in the end," said Richter. 

The house would have cost about $150,000, including materials and labor, if it had been built by a contractor. "The advantage of building a house through Habitat for Humanity is that 50-70 percent of the cost of a new house is labor, so we can reduce that to around $70,000," Richter estimated. 

RIT's Habitat for Humanity has worked on five houses so far this year. "We've already donated about 1,000 hours of manpower," said Richter. The club has 77 members, and is very active on campus. When asked why she contributed to this organization, Vanessa, a second year Civil Engineering Technology major, said "I really like this community, especially when we get to meet the families." Anthony Farrar, a first year Environmental Science major, said "I guess it makes you realize how close-knit the community really is. I just helped build a house for somebody who works right on the campus I'm living at."