Shack-A-Thon, NC State’s annual fundraising event for Habitat for Humanity, began Sept. 22 and runs through Sept. 28. Shack-A-Thon 2019 features 19 student-built shacks and over 45 student organizations.
To raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Wake County and to raise awareness for the issue of affordable housing, students build and decorate shacks in the Brickyard during the event. All are occupied by at least one person at all times for the entire week.
This leads to a lot of down time for the shack-dwellers to find ways to attract passersby. This is accomplished with interesting shack decorations, painted murals, raffles or food. Some shacks also offer products for other students and participants to buy.
The Caldwell Fellows sold plants to attract people to their shack. Jeremy Lowe, a third-year studying environmental engineering, said they chose to sell plants because “people buy them like crazy.”
Attracting people to the shacks is one thing to focus on, but keeping them occupied is just as important. A dog or two roamed around some of the shacks, and music could be heard coming out of others. Many shack-dwellers keep busy with homework or even napping.
At the Caldwell Fellows shack, Sarah Coull, a second-year studying environmental engineering, taught Riley Stephenson, a third-year studying chemistry and vocal performance, how to play Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” on the guitar. Stephenson said music was an easy way to attract people and keep themselves entertained.
“We’re just playing a little music," Stephenson said. "We’ve got two guitars here and just doing a little jam session. People have been popping in and out. My girlfriend even just popped by, and we sang a piece.”
John Loomis, a second-year studying meteorology, said even without music, they would still have fun.
“Even when we don’t have the music going on, we just keep each other company and make each other laugh, tell stories and stuff like that,” Loomis said.
The College of Natural Resources shack featured a painting of a panda on the side, complete with bamboo stalks. On the back of the shack, there was a tree mural where anyone could add a leaf to the painting if they paid a dollar. Elizabeth Moore, a fourth-year studying communication, said everyone who volunteered at the shack got to leave their mark on it in an interesting way.
“There’s a painting going on inside the shack, and every person who volunteers gets to go in and add one little thing to the painting,” Moore said. “At the end of the week, they’re going to raffle it off. It’ll be a collage of everyone’s artwork.”
The College of Natural Resources also raffled other items to attract visitors. Kayla Clark, a fourth-year studying political science and psychology, said companies donated the items they raffled.
“We had different companies donate stuff to raffle off," Clark said. "We have a month of yoga at CorePower, some stuff donated by a pet store, and we have a night at the hotel on Hillsborough.”
Clark said it was easy to pass the time because different clubs would adopt the shack throughout the week.
“For the day, we’re adopting it as National Parks Club,” Clark said. “A way that College of Natural Resources is passing the time is by having different clubs adopt it for the day to lighten the workload on everyone.”
Clark said another way they kept themselves entertained is by eating the baked goods they made to sell.
“We’re giving money back to ourselves and eating the baked goods that we made,” Clark said. “We have brownies and cookies, so I’m basically paying myself for the brownies I made last night.”
Shack-A-Thon not only raises money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, but it also fosters a sense of community and engagement on campus.