Gustie Volunteers Build Community Over Fall Break

A group of nine students volunteered on a Habitat for Humanity build in Hibbing, Minnesota, over fall break.
Posted on October 29th, 2019 by

A group of Gusties at their Habitat for Humanity work site in Hibbing, Minnesota.

A group of Gusties at their Habitat for Humanity work site in Hibbing, Minnesota.

Marie Osuna is a junior English and psychological science major from Forest Lake, Minn.

Fall Break at Gustavus Adolphus College is a great time for students to go home, relax, and get some much-needed sleep.

I, however, prefer to spend my breaks building houses. This fall break was my third time going on a Habitat trip with other Gustavus students, and every trip has been so rewarding—and definitely worth the lack of sleep and not getting to go home and see my family.

This year’s fall break trip was to Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. We were helping to build a house in Hibbing, Minnesota, just a few streets down from Bob Dylan Drive—the site of Bob Dylan’s childhood home, as you may have guessed.

Gustavus students volunteer roofing a Habitat for Humanity home.The construction we did was not for those fearful of heights. We mostly worked on the roof, hauling up eight-foot sheets of plywood and getting them nailed down. We each came onto the buildsite with different levels of construction experience—some had previous Habitat or general knowledge, while others had never used a hammer before—but by the end of time there we all learned something new. Whether it was operating a power saw or learning more about what Habitat does, everyone walked away with something.

Together, the nine Gusties on the trip put in a combined 72 volunteer hours for Habitat for Humanity. Like many Habitat locations, building can’t occur unless groups of volunteers are there to help out. Having student groups like ours helps the team make huge progress on the house, something everyone there was grateful for. 

Even better than the building itself was being able to meet the homeowner to hear a little bit of her story. Every Habitat homeowner I’ve met has been so willing to talk about their struggles, and what getting an affordable home through Habitat means to them. It’s so important to me to not just think of these trips as a fun volunteer opportunity, but to really let the mission sink in. We aren’t just taking a break from classes or building a house, we are building someone’s home. They are going to move into this building and make it their own. They are going to hang curtains in the windows and their kids are going to play on the lawn. They are getting an opportunity to have a home because of the great work Habitat does, along with thousands of hours of volunteer work. 

I am so thankful I have the opportunity to volunteer on Habitat trips twice a year on my fall and spring breaks, as well as partnering with the Saint Peter chapter throughout the school year. Additionally, serving on Gustavus’ Habitat for Humanity Executive Board has taught me so much about the importance of shelter, of self-reliance, and the meaning of the word home.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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