Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ashworth College Breaking New Ground as First Online Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter

Ashworth College and Habitat for Humanity proudly announced today that the distance education leader has become the first institution of its kind to establish an online Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter.

A Campus Chapter is a student-led organization on a high school or college campus that partners with a local Habitat affiliate to fulfill four primary functions – building, fundraising, advocating and educating.

The Ashworth Campus Chapter, who will align with Habitat for Humanity’s North Central Georgia affiliate, has become its first-ever distance education campus chapter and will operate primarily through online forum and social community groups. Habitat’s student groups traditionally have been at brick and mortar institutions.

"Because our students interact mostly online, we find that they are more organized and have a higher commitment level to student organizations than their traditional campus-based counterparts," said Ryan Rode, Ashworth Director of Social Media and faculty advisor. "The only real difference is that instead of holding regular meetings in an on-campus classroom, our members will meet in chat rooms."

Rode is optimistic that the Ashworth College Campus Chapter will create new opportunities for Habitat. "The typical college student doesn’t have the resources that our student does," he said. "Ashworth students tend to be working adults with established personal and professional networks -- this will make a big difference when it comes time to participate in any fundraising and advocacy initiatives."

Rode went on to mention that Ashworth offers a wide range of diploma, certificate and degree programs in the skilled trades to include carpentry, construction management, electrician, heating and air conditioning, landscape design, plumbing; as well as interior decorating. "We hope that students in these programs will seize the opportunity to not only give back, but to gain some hands-on experience that will help them professionally," Rode added.

Within the first month, the Ashworth College Chapter recruited more than 25 members, both in the US and abroad. "Partnering with Ashworth College will create an entirely new dynamic for Habitat," said Bill Campbell, Engagement Specialist for Habitat for Humanity International. "Habitat supports affiliates all over the world. There is a good chance that wherever an Ashworth student calls home, there will be an opportunity to participate in project nearby."
Habitat for Humanity is known for building homes for under-privileged families and Ashworth has already made plans to participate in a local build. As part of its upcoming 2009 Graduation weekend activities, the Chapter is co-sponsoring a house in North Atlanta.

"Ashworth does an amazing job at providing the students opportunities to enhance our education as well as our outreach efforts. It really makes us proud of our school," said Anne Cox, president of the Ashworth Campus Chapter. "The build is also an opportunity for Ashworth students, alumni, faculty and staff to meet face-to-face and work side-by-side for a worthwhile cause."

"This demonstrates that online students share many of the same interests as those at campus-based school," Cox, a forensic science student, added. "Attending school online doesn’t mean that you’re missing out."

Ashworth College

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