Contact: James Carskadon
STARKVILLE, Miss.—For the eighth consecutive year, Mississippi State University is partnering with Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity to provide a local family with a new home.
MSU, Starkville and Habitat for Humanity officials broke ground Friday [Aug. 5] on the eighth MSU Maroon Edition House on Owens Street in Starkville. MSU President Mark E. Keenum drove in the ceremonial first nail. The house will be built by volunteers, including MSU students, faculty, staff and retirees.
Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity officials said they were thankful for the continued partnership between MSU and Habitat for Humanity. The Maroon Edition home will be the 61st house provided by Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity.
“Everybody deserves to have a home,” Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity Board Vice President Barbara Coats said. “That’s what made me interested in this organization in the first place.”
The Habitat home is part of the service-learning component of the Maroon Edition First-Year Reading Experience, which encourages students to read a common book. The 2016 Maroon Edition book is “Three Little Words: A Memoir” by Ashley Rhodes-Courter. Students will have the opportunity to work volunteer shifts on the Habitat home during Dawg Daze events and throughout the fall semester.
“I can’t say enough about how proud I am of our students,” Keenum said. “We want to inspire them to help others through service like this, and what better way to do it than through a great (service) organization like Habitat for Humanity?”
The partner family for the Maroon Edition Habitat home is Lena Evans and her daughter, Lashay Evans. Lena has worked as a cook for the First United Methodist Church day care for over 10 years, while Lashay works at a convenience store on Highway 182. They currently live in a trailer several miles outside the Starkville city limits. When they move into their new home, they will have vastly improved living conditions and no longer need to pay a neighbor to drive them to work. Lena Evans will be able to walk to work from the home on Owens Street, while Lashay Evans will be able to take a shuttle.
The Evans’ new home is located across the street from last year’s Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity home and surrounded by current and future Habitat homes. Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman thanked Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity for continuing to work to improve the community.
“We as a city and university family believe that we are all better off when we help each other,” Wiseman said. “This partnership between the Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity chapter and Mississippi State University for the last several years has been an embodiment of that.”
The Maroon Volunteer Center will help coordinate student groups and individuals seeking to volunteer. Once the house is complete, a dedication will be held, and the Evans will receive their new home.
“I think this is a great way for our students to start their experience at Mississippi State in service to others,” MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Regina Hyatt said.
For more on the Maroon Edition program, visit www.maroonedition.msstate.edu.
For more on the Maroon Volunteer Center, visit www.mvc.msstate.edu
For more on Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity, visit. www.starkvillehabitat.com.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.