Mercer Habitat to hold faculty luncheon

Mercer+Habitat+to+hold+faculty+luncheon
Garrett McDowell, junior, works at a build site for Macon Habitat for Humanity. Mercer University Habitat will hold a faculty luncheon in March to raise money for the next build.

Recognized as one of the top chapters in the country, Mercer University’s Habitat for Humanity chapter is planning their third annual faculty luncheon on March 17, 2011 to benefit local families in Macon.

“The purpose of the luncheon is to engage faculty and staff at a more personal level in this project, and get them to support it financially and with their own volunteers,” said Larry Brumley.

As a liaison between the President’s Office and Macon Habitat, Brumley helps to facilitate Mercer’s support to the local affiliate.

Mercer University has had a longstanding and fruitful partnership with the Macon Area Habitat. The Mercer University chapter has built at least 30 houses since it began its partnership.

“It’s been a terrific opportunity for our students to engage in service learning and to help build a house in the community and work along with others in the community in building that house,” Brumley said.

Over the years, Mercer University has united with local churches, grant programs and sponsors to raise the $30,000 needed to fund the Mercer Habitat house.

Before beginning the faculty luncheon, students depended on an e-mail sent from the president’s office to faculty asking for their involvement. This event encourages Mercer staff in a more engaging way to consider being both a donor and a volunteer.

Brumley believes that the luncheon engages faculty and staff on a more personal level, giving them an opportunity to hear about the various projects with Habitat for Humanity.

“I think it inspires our students to put in a lot of time and effort to make this build happen. It provides encouragement to students, not to mention the financial support that faculty and staff give to the Mercer build itself,” Brumley said.

Brumley also said that the luncheon gives the students leadership opportunities as well as event management experience. The event allows students to learn in the areas of event planning, marketing and service.

Chapter president Thomaesa Brundage said that the student-led event will give the chapter on-campus awareness. As president, Brundage will serve as the facilitator and speaker at the luncheon.

Brundage believes that the biggest challenge is getting the faculty involved in their advocacy outreach initiative; however, she also stresses the importance of Mercer’s financial commitment.

“Mercer University’s financial commitment is if of immense importance. What Mercer gives and what this faculty luncheon produces gives enough to build a house,” Brundage said.

Development Director of Macon Habitat Jim Mercer is excited that about the awareness and opportunities the fundraising luncheon will bring. He is tasked with aiding the students in planning the event. “We want the spotlight to be on the students and recognize their efforts,” Mercer said.

Executive Director of Macon Habitat Harold Tessendorf was impressed with the faculty turnout at last year’s luncheon. This year, he hopes that students’ roles in this event are acknowledged as well.

“The way in which we engage the community is through variety of outreach in Macon. The church has been our source of support financially and in volunteering,” Tessendorf said.

The Mercer chapter is excited for this luncheon to ignite both student and faculty support for a cause that provides invaluable experience.

“If we can give one house to help one family, that’s an amazing accomplishment in itself,” said Brundage.