Campus News

Students Give the Perfect Gift


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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 9, 2011) – This weekend, University of Kentucky students will present a Lexington family with a gift far too large to fit under any Christmas tree — a home of their own.

In October of this year students came together with a common goal: to build a Habitat for Humanity house for UK employee DaShanda Player.  On Sunday, Dec. 11, students from fraternities, sororities and the UK Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter; UK Division of Student Affairs staff; and the Player family will see their hard work pay off in a dedication of the house on Breathitt Avenue.

The Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association, and UK Habitat Chapter all worked on the house. Over a dozen Student Affairs staff members also supported this student initiative through a staff work day on Nov. 10. The team of volunteers raised enough money, $44,000, to complete the house.

“It was my pleasure to help support the students who have worked so hard on the Habitat for Humanity build,” said the new assistant director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, Vinny Sandy. “Service to others is a strong value of fraternities and sororities, so I am proud the students initiated this project and worked so diligently and unselfishly to generously contribute to the community. I am always amazed by what can be accomplished through this teamwork.”

During the two months it took to build the house, more than 120 sorority and fraternity members volunteered to help make this home a reality, logging more than 250 hours working at build site. All of UK’s sororities and fraternities were represented throughout the build.

“This has been a wonderful experience that so many UK students contributed to,” said Liz Brinker, philanthropy chair of Panhellenic Executive Council. “This is a wonderful accomplishment for the Greek community, and something that the Greek system can be extremely proud of.”

Students saw their community service as a way to give back. “We come here to get our degrees, and now we can give back a little bit to the university and specifically to someone who works for the university,” Seth Fortenbery, executive vice president of Interfraternity Council, said.

“We are a group of guys and a group of girls who are trying to get things done and give back to the community we are a part of. Hopefully this build is saying that to most people,” Fortenbery said.

Will Blackford, a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, dedicated several days to participate in the building process. He was especially impressed by the camaraderie between organizations.

“There is something special about this campus and our different organizations and communities. When we are united around a single cause it is absolutely amazing what can be accomplished,” Blackford said. “It was simply about giving of ourselves for others who deserve a new and better opportunity at life.”

Working all those Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays will be worth it when Player gets the keys to her new home. It is the moment that all the participating organizations and individuals have been working so hard to achieve.

 “When I personally turn over the keys to DeShanda and as a united Greek community we give that house to her family, it’s going to be one of the most amazing moments that I have ever been a part of because it represents so many people working for one cause,” Fortenbery said. “And that’s the symbolic achievement that we have been looking for, ‘Here's your house, now enjoy it.’”

 MEDIA CONTACT:  Gail Hairston, (859) 257-3302;