ECU Recognizes Extreme Volunteers

On May 3, on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the nation saw a home built in eastern North Carolina, and a deserving family given a wonderful gift. But what we didn’t see were the thousands of volunteers—including hundreds of ECU students who gave up their spring break to be there—who worked to exhaustion over seven days to accomplish something that is so much a part of this region, and of this university.

Service to others.

The beautiful new house that the Cooper family of Jamesville, North Carolina, now calls home is a testament not only to the sacrifices of a selfless military hero and the support of a loving family, but to the communal spirit that so often brings out the best of who we are.

Literally thousands of volunteers came together to build a home for someone they’d never met. Men and women of varying ages, ethnicities, religions, and social standing, worked side-by-side to reach a common goal.

For ECU students, volunteering with the build was a very real sacrifice. The seven days scheduled for the build just so happened to coincide with the university’s spring break, a notorious week for college students to kick back and take a break from the rigors of college life. To not only give up a trip to the beach, but also to spend that time working their fingers to the bone, is something deserving of recognition.

ECU’s Volunteer and Service-Learning Center coordinated the student volunteers for the Extreme Makeover project, as they do with many projects throughout the year. Students who have not yet reported their volunteer hours to the center are encouraged to do so.

Quite fittingly, many of the volunteers were construction management students who got to apply what they are learning in the classroom to the real world.

“The Extreme build gave us an opportunity to share our construction skill sets and give back to the region,” said Bryan Wheeler, an instructor in the Department of Construction Management. “Our students gained an appreciation for the planning, organization, and the sheer determination required to complete a project on schedule, while maintaining the highest quality. It was the experience of a lifetime for our students, one that they will always remember.”

Congratulations to all the volunteers, and thank you for representing all of us in eastern North Carolina so well.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.