Students Gain ‘Green’ Building Skills During Alternative Spring Break

by Alana J. Mauger

Follow the students' journey in Michigan by reading their Alternative Spring Break blog. Click the image above to visit the blog.

Twelve students and two staff will depart from Montgomery County Community College early Sunday morning, March 13, to travel to Grand Rapids, Mich. for five days of service through Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge program.

Collegiate Challenge is a year-round alternative break program that enables groups of teens and young adults to travel to more than 200 sites throughout the country to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

Students have participated in Alternative Spring Break – appropriately named because it coincides with the College’s spring break vacation – for the past five years, four of which were trips to other states through Habitat for Humanity. However, this year, for the first time, students will have the opportunity to work on the construction of a LEED certified home.

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County is on the cutting edge of building affordable, sustainable homes. In 2004, the U.S. Green Building Council recognized the chapter for building the nation’s first “LEED Certified Affordable Home,” and in 2007, the chapter committed to building all future homes to LEED Certification.

The selection of Kent County as an Alternative Spring Break site ties into the College’s commitment to sustainability. Since signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, the College has put into place policies and procedures that reduce its carbon footprint, including the incorporation of green building and design practices into new and renovated capital projects.

“The students can use their experiences with green building practices on the worksite in Michigan to help educate the College community about what we’re doing right here on our campuses,” said Jenna Meehan, coordinator of civic and community engagement and one of the trip’s facilitators. “It will bring a new level of awareness to the College’s sustainability initiative.”

Meehan, who has participated in nine alternative spring break trips throughout her career, will be joined by Diane VanDyke, a copy writer in the College’s marketing and communications office. She will be working with the students throughout the week to update a blog and Twitter feed about their experiences. The blog can be viewed at, and you can follow the students on Twitter at

Students participating in the Alternative Spring Break trip include: Patricia Coyle, Horsham; Fadwa Ferradji, Fort Washington; Houda Ferradji, Fort Washington; Jessica Finegan, Bryn Mawr; Traveon Henry, Collegeville; Carey Kwortnik, North Wales; Erin Landis, Hatfield; Richard Meyers, Huntingdon Valley; Rachel Noethen, Horsham; Regina Outterbridge, Stowe; Matthew Pio, Lansdale; and Hohyung Yi, Lansdale.

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