Smiling faces along with an array of Wolverine green welcomed in the celebratory ribbon cutting of the first UVU Habitat for Humanity home Wednesday May 28. A ceremony and barbecue party took place to commemorate the finished home built by 24 of the campus’ building construction students in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity of Utah County (HFHUC). Excited students, faculty, community members and Habitat supporters joined together in the event ten months in the making.
Construction on the home began in August with a groundbreaking ceremony on the three-bedroom home. UVU has been heavily involved in the entire building process of the home, up to the final decorating touches. Departments on campus sponsored individual rooms in the home and the collaborative effort led to a fully finished home for a family of four.
Alexis Palmer of the Service Learning Center, along with Kena Matthews of Habitat for Humanity started off the ceremony by awarding gifts to those involved in the project’s successful completion. Palmer noted that President Sederburg was the brains behind the project; Sederburg was then presented with a framed hammer as a gift of appreciation from HFHUC and to serve as a memento of the first house completed by UVU.
The Rico family, consisting of Gerald Rico, his wife of 14 years, Teresa, and their two children, Shannon and Gerry were presented with a plaque to display in their new home featuring their move-in date and UVU logo. Palmer noted that she hopes the plaque will always hang inside the home to remind their family of UVU and hopes the Rico children will plan to attend in the future.
President Sederburg thanked Palmer for her efforts in the project by saying,"I get credit for the idea, but later got the directions [from Palmer]." Noting that UVU hopes to be known as a university focused in community engagement and that Habitat for Humanity is a good example of what that means, Sederburg thanked the Rico family for letting UVU help.
DeWayne Erdmann of the building construction department said, "It was a joy to work with my students," while he shared his experiences working on the home. He calculated that approximately 4,700 hours of labor went into the newly completed house. "A little training and a little direction turns into great things," Erdmann said. He thanked HFHUC for the opportunity to help the Rico family with their dream of owning a home.
Fittingly, the members of the Rico family also gave thanks to HFHUC, UVU and to God for answering their prayers of owning a home in an emotional portion of the ceremony.
Val Hale, Vice President of Advancement and Marketing, presented the family with the keys of the house and a bible, in the tradition of each finished Habitat for Humanity home to receive a bible.
The actual ribbon cutting followed with Shannon Rico cutting the ribbon alongside her family, Sederburg, Erdmann, Matthews, Palmer, and John Roberts, a builder on the project.
The Rico family moved into the home Saturday May 31. UVU also donated supplies for the home and raised money to fill the pantry.