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FHSU students plan concert for Christian charity




Special to The Hays Daily News

Students in a Leadership 310 class at Fort Hays State University will host a concert competition to benefit Ellis County Habitat for Humanity on Friday at Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center on the FHSU campus.

"The Leadership 310 class is a service-learning class, so basically it takes what you are learning in class and applies it to the community," said Lora Bruce, a senior organizational leadership major from Lawrence and one of the team members.

Every semester, students in these courses establish, coordinate and participate in service-learning projects that benefit the community. Christie Brungardt, assistant professor of leadership studies, is the teacher for Bruce's section.

One group in the class decided to work with Habitat for Humanity of Ellis County to help raise money and promote awareness for the Christian charity. In addition to Bruce, the students are Justine Chadd, Greensburg senior; Kayli Conrady, Great Bend senior; Stephen Marcotte, Blackwell, Okla., sophomore; Kellie Weiser, Great Bend senior; and Aviva Qiao, Shenyang, China, senior.

"We chose a concert because it is different, and we wanted to somehow incorporate the Christian atmosphere and a family fun event. We thought a concert would do that," Bruce said.

The concert will feature six musical groups, with each getting to perform for approximately 18 minutes. The groups will be judged, and the winner will receive a cash prize, which comes from the entry fees, not ticket sales.

The groups are The Plugged-In Band, Lawrence; JACKS, a local group from Christian Challenge; 24 Hours, a Hays band; Native Soil, a band from Lawrence; a band from Westview Church in Hays; and Crossroads, a Hays choir.

The students are hoping to raise $1,500. That will go toward supplies needed to build a house.

"Our main priority is to create awareness," said Chadd, a management major. "We obviously want to raise funds for Habitat, but creating awareness about the need for Habitat in Ellis County is important."

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit Christian ministry that builds decent, affordable housing for those in need. Habitat was founded in 1976 and builds homes all over the world. It is not a give-away program, said Linn Ann Huntington, co-chairwoman of the local chapter.

Individuals must meet income guidelines and be able to make a monthly payment on a no-interest loan. In addition, those selected for Habitat homes must put in a certain number of "sweat equity" hours volunteering with the organization.

Habitat for Humanity in Ellis County has built two houses and is working on a third at 400 E. 17th. The group also has a ReStore, which sells building materials and used appliances and furniture. The ReStore is located in The Mall and is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

"So many people see Habitat and think 'those are just the people who build houses,' but it is so much more than that. I think a lot of times the message of Habitat gets distorted, and I think that is why our group chose this," Chadd said.

Other members of the Leadership 310 class are participating in other local service-learning programs throughout the semester.

The concert will start at 7 p.m. Tickets purchased at the door are $7. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $6 at Emprise Bank, 1200 Main; the Student Service Desk in FHSU's Memorial Union; and at the Habitat ReStore in The Mall.

Information about volunteering with or donating to Habitat is available at www.habitatelliscounty.org.

Tyler Parks, Elkhart senior, is a student at Fort Hays State University majoring in graphic design.