Optimus Habitat wins WU Building Challenge
Six teams with a total of 21 students participated in the annual fundraiser for the University’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, which was held Sunday afternoon at Ursa’s Fireside.
They raised just over $200 for the local and international branches of Habitat for Humanity, which works to eliminate homelessness and subsidized housing by providing individuals with inexpensive but respectable living spaces.
Junior Colleen Rhoades, a member of the team that built Optimus Habitat, said her group was excited to take the top prize at the event.
“Last year our team got second, so we were determined to come back and win this year,” Rhoades said.
At the competition, groups were given cardboard, duct tape and utility knives and allowed to construct anything they chose. They were judged on criteria ranging from creativity and aesthetic to structural integrity, functionality and team spirit.
Last year, Rhoades’ group made a pirate ship. This year, she said, most of the group’s planning happened in the hour before the actual building started.
“We had a long list of brainstorming. A bulldozer was on there, and a transformer was on there, and so we kind of put the two together,” Rhoades said.
For their efforts, they won a gourmet dessert party at Coffee Cartel, free tickets to any AMC theater and to the Pageant, Bear Discounts Cards, a mini helmet autographed by the Rams, and gift cards to Snarf’s Sub Shop.
“We’ve come back every year; we’ll be back next year, I’m sure,” Rhoades added.
The event was co-sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and Theta Xi Fraternity for the second year in a row.
Habitat for Humanity campus chapter president, junior Aviya Lanis, said that the event went well despite some last-minute difficulties in moving the event from its typical location on the Swamp because of weather concerns.
“I think it did limit the amount of people we could fit in, mostly because there’s only so many people you can fit in this room and to have space for them to build the cardboard [creations], and otherwise one of the main issues was just making sure everyone knew that it was indoors instead of on the Swamp,” Lanis said.
She said Habitat for Humanity was also pleased with participation in the event and with the number of prize donations they were able to solicit from local businesses.
“We had six teams who competed, more signed up and found out they couldn’t stay for the entire event; there were teams who donated $50 worth and just couldn’t make it, but I think it was pretty good,” Lanis said. “Not every team got something, but I think it was a good amount of certificate distribution.”
“We [had] a lot more variety of prizes rather than having…major advertisement, but otherwise I think it’s been pretty true to its name,” she added.
Theta Xi Fraternity members helped coordinate and advertise the event to try and help Habitat for Humanity extend its work throughout the community.
“It was just a fun event, and it got Habitat for Humanity—their name—out to the students,” Brian Yoo, a freshman and the philanthropy chair of Theta Xi said.
All of the cardboard used in the building challenge was donated by Walmart, and students had begun recycling the materials before the prize winners were announced.