Marist Habitat for Humanity Spends Spring Break Building in North Carolina
April 28, 2022 — With most students enjoying their time off, Julia Kisilinsky ’22 and a group of staff and students spent their spring break in North Carolina, building a house as part of Marist’s Habitat for Humanity club.
Kisilinsky is an English and Media Studies and Production dual major and Marist Habitat for Humanity President. Kisilinsky, the students, and two staff chaperones worked alongside Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity to help on one of the 27 new construction homes in Wilmington. The trip was part of Habitat’s annual Collegiate Challenge, which provides alternative opportunities for spring break to college students across the country.
“This trip will be one that the twelve of us will remember fondly, and I hope that other students, upon learning about the success of this trip, will be inspired to join the club and attend the trip in the years to come,” said Kisilinsky.
Kisilinsky worked alongside Vice President Emma Spiro ’24, PR Manager and Secretary Meredith Prud’homme ’24, and Treasurer and Affiliate Liaison Victoria Raspe ’24 to ensure this trip came to fruition.
Since being postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kisilinsky kept looking for an announcement that the 2022 Collegiate Challenge would be a possibility for her senior year. “Last semester I stayed on the lookout for an email from Habitat for Humanity to see if the Collegiate Challenge would even be on for 2022; the spring break alternative had been suspended since Spring of 2020,” said Kisilinsky.
Working alongside Bob Lynch, Director of Student Activities, Julie Cirilli, Student Activities Office Manager, and Marist Habitat for Humanity staff advisor and Business Manager of the Physician Assistant Studies Department Melissa McCarthy, Kisilinsky figured out the logistics and organization of the trip. Although COVID-19 always had the potential to cancel the trip, Kisilinsky, the Habitat for Humanity Board, and staff worked hard to ensure it happened.
“I knew there was a possibility that all the planning—the hours and the energy—that my board and I put into this trip could result in a canceled trip, but we were more than willing to take that chance,” said Kisilinsky.
Over the five days students worked in North Carolina, they installed roof trusses, nailed sheathing, sprayed insulating foam, and other daily jobs to help Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity prepare a home for a family in need. “It was incredible to see the progress we made in just five days,” said Kisilinsky.
After learning about the trip from Eileen Mastrantuono, the Counseling Services Office Coordinator, Dr. Marisa Moore, Director of Counseling Services joined the trip to North Carolina. “Usually during spring break, I use that time to catch up with much-needed admin work while students are gone. However, I realized that no matter how much work I did there will always be more, so I might as well try this amazing opportunity,” said Dr. Moore.
Students and chaperones had to break out of their comfort zone throughout their time in North Carolina. Whether boarding a plane for the first time or learning how to operate a table saw, students and staff embraced the Marist pillar of commitment to service.
Having left her impact on the Marist Habitat for Humanity chapter, Kisilinsky looks forward to what the future holds for the incoming students and leaders. “I am so looking forward to seeing what the following executive boards have in store for the club’s future. Marist College’s Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter has been one of my favorite aspects of my college career and I will miss it dearly,” said Kisilinsky.