Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Student Volunteers and Habitat for Humanity Throw Up House Panels for Future Homeowners


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Habitat for Humanity and Middle Tennessee State University volunteer students teamed up to build house panels for a family in need on Thursday in front of the Student Union building.

Arionna Robinson-Alcocer and Eduardo Alcocer needed more living space but were unable to foot the bill, so Robinson-Alcocer’s mother recommended that the family try contacting Habitat for Humanity for help.

Volunteers help assemble the walls by hammering the wood into place. (Photo by Jenene Grover)

“My mom actually is very familiar with Habitat,” Robinson-Alcocer said. “They volunteer with church and stuff, and so when we didn’t qualify to own a home but we pay almost $1,700 in rent, my mom was like ‘something’s wrong, so you need to go and try Habitat.”

Rutherford County Habitat for Humanity has been building a subdivision for a little over a year called Legacy Pointe. The Alcocers’ new home will be built there.

Rutherford County Habitat for Humanity Director of Strategic Investments and Philanthropy Randy Allen hands out toolbelts and safety equipment at Habitat for Humanity home-build event. (Photo by Brian Branch)

“This is an easy way for us to build all of the walls for a Habitat house, as opposed to trying to do it on the actual lot of the house,” said Melissa Cross, Director of Development and Marketing for Rutherford County Habitat for Humanity, said. “This way, MTSU students can get involved.”

Many MTSU students took time out of their day to help the Alcocers.

“It helps our community,” freshman volunteer Lauryn Ashby said. “You can get involved this way. I just think everyone should do it.”

Student volunteers were able to gain new skills and learn about home construction.

“A lot of people just. . .want to live in their own world, but events like this make us meet different people and learn about something new,” freshman volunteer Sneh Gandhi said. “I never knew houses were made like this.”

Events like this allow students from many backgrounds to join together and make a difference for someone else.

“I’ve been around Habitat for Humanity for a while because my dad’s a construction manager,” senior volunteer Lindsey Arnold said. “He shows me how special it is to help people who are in need.”

For the future homeowners, being able to watch their house be built by many kind strangers was a heartfelt surprise.

“It means a lot,” Robinson-Alcocer said. ”It means the ability to have a stable environment for my child, have financial stability for my entire family and have a foundation for our family.”

Many organizations and volunteers cooperated to put on this event.

“EXIT Realty is one of our sponsors,” Director of Student Organizations and Service Jackie Victory said. “They have some of their staff that are out today working alongside our students. Actually, a lot of them are alums, and so it’s a really neat partnership to have with them so that they can come out, work alongside our students and help give back as well.”

Volunteers signed the walls they helped build with affirmations and other kind notes to stay with the homeowners forever.

“My husband was saying how he was shocked that students at MTSU would want to even come and help,” Robinson-Alcocer said. “We’re extremely grateful for it.”

To contact News Editor Matthew Giffin and Assistant News Editor Kailee Shores, email

For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

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