ANSWER: Social impact.
Swinging sledgehammers amid snow and freezing rain, the Wharton Wharthogs and Wildebeests rugby teams helped rebuild an abandoned house in the Germantown section of Philadelphia on January 21 as part of Habitat for Humanity’s ongoing effort to deliver affordable housing to disadvantaged families.
In a bonding experience that was both a social-impact outing and a mid-winter work out, 15 team members wielded power saws, hefted rubble, dug clay and lugged lumber to rehab a derelict house as well as lend a hand at Habitat for Humanity’s building material outlet, The Habitat Philadelphia ReStore.
Arriving at the build site in Germantown, North Philly, the Hogs were met by Astor, the scruffy Habitat volunteer carpenter, grinning at them through the snow flurries. Astor soon put the team to work on rehabilitating the dilapidated 1870’s two-bedroom that had been left derelict for the last 20 years. Over the next six hours, under Astor’s guiding eye, Nii Ayite, Adam Blatchford, Ross Cockrell, Joe Rosen, and Anh Tran shifted tons of rubble and soil and excavated a basement under the old house. Meanwhile Jeremy Cook, Casey Dougan, and Dan “The Foreman” Oppedisano delivered Thor-like hammer blows to demolish a recalcitrant concrete slab that was causing water run-off to destabilize the house and potentially flood the newly excavated basement. Their work was a big step towards transforming this ruined shell of a house into a warm and dry home for a disadvantaged Philly family.
A few blocks away at Habitat’s ReStore Erica Connelly, Stella Tambunan, Laura Humber, Ben Pittard, and Ryan Houck applied a combination of OPIM skills and brute force to efficiently organize and display newly donated inventory ready for sale to the community. Through donated materials and volunteer labor at the ReStore, Habitat is able to provide building materials, furniture, appliances and other home items to the surrounding community in need at deeply discounted prices.
The Executive Director of Habitat Philadelphia commented that the volunteer effort by the rugby players was an example of Habitat volunteering at its best, with the group surpassing work scope expectations for the day at both sites despite the difficult weather conditions.
The day was arranged by Wharton Non-Profit Board Leadership Program 2011-2012 Board Fellows Dominic Skerritt (Project U.S.E) and Paul Nolen (Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia).
At Wharton, we are constantly inundated with amazing opportunities to benefit ourselves: we are offered amazing jobs with absurd compensation, we travel the world in sheltered and hedonistic treks, and we roll deeper in debt buying bottles at New York night clubs. Yet, we are also inundated with amazing opportunities to help others and in doing so make ourselves greater: the Board Fellows program and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity are perfect opportunities to give something to the Philadelphia community while at the same time rolling our sleeves up, getting our hands dirty, and having a damn good time doing it. A great leader once said, “we make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”…. Get a life. Start giving.
For more information
Board Fellows Program: wlp.wharton.upenn.edu/MBA/nonprofit-board-leadership-pro.cfm
Habitat for Humanity: www.habitatphiladelphia.org
Project U.S.E.: www.projectuse.org
Wharton Rugby: www.wharthogs.com