Skip links

19th Annual R House is Underway!

Roanoke College, supported by students, Habitat staff, and the Habitat Builders Club officially “broke ground” on the 19th Annual R House, the college’s annual service project that introduces incoming students to the Roanoke Valley.

A tradition since 2005, this year’s event is expected to draw volunteer hours from more than 150 students through the college’s Center for Civic Engagement. Jesse Griffin, director for the center, says the annual collaboration with Habitat-Roanoke is a great way to involve students in the change Habitat foments, providing an incredible teaching tool and a way for new students to connect to the community.

The college has always had a huge commitment to community engagement and service to others and so we try to show them and exemplify that the very minute they show up on campus that this is who we are, this is what we do. And this is a really tangible and concrete way to do that,” said Griffin.

On this day, the team is prepping the site, which is located in a parking lot on the college’s campus. The goal is to have everything set and ready to go for the freshman who will be working on the project the following week.

This experience, right off the bat says, ‘we are also focusing outside of campus in the larger community’,” said Brian Clark, Habitat-Roanoke’s longtime Director of Construction who himself is a Roanoke College alumni. Clark agrees that the lessons taught during this project are lessons for a lifetime.

When I talk that graduate from Roanoke College, they remember this house. They may never come out on it again, but they remember participating and they remember the impact.”

This unique service project will see both floors of a two-story home built separately on the Maroon campus. The house will then be moved its final destination where it will be completed. 

It just kind of captures the imagination in a way that a traditional community service project doesn’t,” said Clark.

I think that is what’s so powerful about this because it is so unique. It’s like, ‘We are going to do what on campus? We are going to build a house and then move it?’”.

Students are set to work on the project in shifts, which evolve into Saturday workdays at the permanent site located in southeast Roanoke. Student involvement continues all the way up until the dedication day, tentatively set in December.