Salem State students forgo week at the beach for community service during spring break

Salem State students build houses with Habitat in Missouri

As they have for several years, a number of Salem State students once again gave up their spring break to provide community service for others. Led by Jeff Smith, assistant director of Salem State’s Ellison Campus Center, and Kerri Tingle, the center’s administrative assistant, a total of 20 students traveled to Missouri, where they spent the week of March 12-16 helping to build houses for two needy families.

The students participated through Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge program, splitting into two groups upon arrival. One group worked on a house under construction in St. Joseph, Missouri, while the other did the same in Kansas City.

Although freshman Emily Kocot admitted it was her “first time using most of these tools,” the students made a significant difference in the lives of two families as both houses went up. According to junior Andrea McCue, 20, as quoted in the St. Joseph News-Press, “When we first came, (the site) was a completely flat concrete slab.” Halfway through the week, her team had “built all the exterior walls and (were) working on the interior walls, so we can hopefully put trusses up on the roof later.”


Kneeling in front row (from right): Katherine (Kiki) McKenna (Beverly), Jennifer Ann Palermo (Saugus), Marisa Balletto (Ganesvoort, NY)

Kneeling on second level (from right):  Arielle Wright (Beverly); Emily MacLeod (Woburn)

Standing (from right):  Tom Gillespie (Wilmington), Troy Perry (Danvers), Ryan Mahan (Beverly), Jeff Smith (assistant director, Salem State University Campus Center); Natasha Lopez (Burlington)