Raise the Roof: First student-funded Habitat for Humanity house built in Louisville

The UofL chapter of Habitat for Humanity nailed down its most significant accomplishment to date. The first student-funded Habitat for Humanity house was built in Louisville during Raise the Roof weekend Sept. 17 through 19, 2015.
Raise the Roof: First student-funded Habitat for Humanity house built in Louisville

Arts & Sciences senior Stephanie Dooper led the ambitious effort to raise the $44,000 needed to build the house, in part of by biking 1,500 miles down the West Coast with fellow UofL student David Exe.

“This project has been a culmination of three years of work. It would not have happened if it were not for the amazing campus chapter members and the support of the university,” said Dooper, a triple major in Spanish, Latin American and Latino Studies and Liberal Studies focusing on International Relations.

Dooper came up with the idea for students to raise the money needed to build a Habitat house. Her plan won her a spot at the annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU). She was the first UofL student to attend the prestigious conference, an annual meeting of students from around the world who discuss their plans for projects that address needs in five areas: education; environment and climate change; peace and human rights; poverty alleviation; and public health.

This year’s meeting was held at Arizona State University with more than 1,100 students from 80 countries and all 50 states. CGIU officials said Berea College was the only other higher education institution from Kentucky represented this year.

“UofL students have a long tradition of service to the community, and we are proud of their dedication and hard work to make this house a reality,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “These great students recognize that home ownership is an important step toward a brighter future and that giving back is as much a part of their education as going to class.”

Dooper and Exe

A&S senior and president of the UofL student chapter of Habitat for Humanity Stephanie Dooper (left) and David Exe biked 1,500 miles this summer to raise money for the first student-funded Habitat for Humanity house built in Louisville.

Dooper said hearing about and talking with students about their projects during CGUI – including her roommates from Scotland setting up a bike rental program on their campus and a group from Latin America teaching older women about sustainable farming – convinced her that her Habitat project goal was achievable.

Lisa Echsner, Habitat of Humanity director of marketing and development, said she is excited to see this project happen.

“Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville has worked with the students at UofL for many years. We are thrilled to see this dream come to fruition, both for the hard-working chapter members and for our homeowner,” Echsner said.

Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville, established in1985, has built or remodeled over 445 houses in the city. The student-funded house will be built in the Portland neighborhood.

The UofL Habitat chapter has received a $20,000 matching grant from Texas Roadhouse and is continuing to raise money. To donate, visit www.crowdrise.com/uoflhabitat. Volunteers are also needed. To volunteer, visit www.louisvillehabitat.org.