Shantytown citizens spend a night on the quad

Habitat for Humanity, Shantytown, Augustana College
Augustana College students spent the night in the quad to raise money for Habitat for Humanity.

Last Thursday and Friday, students decided to be homeless for 24 hours, using only cardboard, tarps and duct tape as homes. This year, the Augustana College Habitat for Humanity chapter’s annual Shantytown event was held in the lower quad to raise money for the Quad Cities’ Habitat for Humanity.
Habitat for Humanity is an organization that provides affordable housing for low-income families in need. The money they raise goes toward the materials needed for the local home they are working on.
The event was not only to raise money for low-income families, though; it was also about building awareness for those who cannot afford a well-built home, or even a home at all.
“People take for granted the houses they live in, and that’s exactly what we’re doing tonight: living as if we don’t have real homes,” said Nick Bantz-Beaty, a sophomore who stayed overnight in Shantytown.
This year, 11 groups signed up and built a cardboard ‘home.’
“We probably raised around $300,” said Habitat member Sara Fitzgerald.
All homes were built out of cardboard that students collected themselves, as well as tarps, duct tape, bed sheets, sticks and blankets. Most had an average of five to eight people staying in them, although others came and visited throughout the day.
There was never a dull moment, with musical performances by students throughout the day on Thursday, bags, Frisbee games, free Martini Swingers lessons and s’mores at midnight.
“Each year we try to incorporate different events,” said Fitzgerald. “Last year we tried a bouncy house to spark people’s interest and keep them entertained. This year we had a lot more musicians play and incorporated a Martini Swinger dance lesson. Other than that, we have kept it fairly consistent since I have been here.”
For most students, hanging outside and listening to the bands and singers all day is half the fun.
“I was most looking forward to spending some time with my (Phi Mu Alpha fraternity) brothers, building and camping out,” said sophomore Matt Pickard.
And for others, Shantytown is one of the most exciting events of the year on campus. Returning Shantytown campers, juniors Katie Rea, Torey Baxa, Kim Proesel and seniors Sam Stewart and Erin Williams, also were happy to be able to hang outside all day and night in their home, which was made out of cardboard, bedsheets, duct tape and sticks.
“This is what we look forward to. This is the best day of the year for us,” said Williams.