To bring attention to housing insecurity, Aggie Habitat for Humanity is hosting its 15th annual Shack-A-Thon.
Held in front of Kyle Field in the Zone Plaza, Shack-A-Thon consists of organizations who pay for and build shacks to reside in for the remainder of the event. The construction of shacks began at 8 a.m. on Monday, and will be taken down by noon on Thursday. All proceeds from Shack-A-Thon aid Aggie Habitat in their effort to raise $60,000 each year to provide a home for those in need in the Bryan-College Station area.
Allied health sophomore and director of public relations for Aggie Habitat Gyllian Navarro said Shack-A-Thon promotes an understanding of the community and aims to improve the housing situation in the B-CS area.
“Aggie Habitat focuses on building the community and helping raise awareness toward substandard housing and making sure everyone has a home,” Navarro said. “Shack-A-Thon is a fun way to get awareness out there that people are living in substandard housing. … Building the shacks gives a visual of our message.”
Navarro said Shack-A-Thon is one of two of the largest fundraisers hosted by Aggie Habitat. Last year, through Shack-A-Thon alone, Aggie Habitat raised $15,000. Aggie Habitat members also helped build the house that they raised money for. Navarro said her experience participating in the construction of a home was fulfilling.
“I always feel that giving gives you more happiness than receiving,” Navarro said. “I really loved building that house because it went to an amazing family. Seeing the joy on the little boys face when he got to see his own room was priceless.”
Fourteen organizations are participating in the 2019 Shack-A-Thon. Each organization chooses a size — half, full or double — and a theme for their shack.
One of this year’s shacks, constructed by freshman leadership organization Fish Council, was painted with the iconic striped design of Whataburger, complete with a maroon stripe to match the College Station locations.
“We are building a double shack even though we are the smallest FLO,” business freshman and Fish Council ambassador Sam Crockett said. “We based our shack design on Whataburger, God love Whataburger. We chose Whataburger because [it] is the place we always go after all the meetings or after any social events we have.”
The freshman leadership organization FLASH chose to decorate their shack based on board games, nuclear engineering sophomore and mentor of the FLASH giveback committee Zach Jones said.
“There are six committees, so each committee picked a different board game,” Jones said. “We’ve got Candy Land, Sorry, Operation, Life, Monopoly and Cards Against Humanity. Every committee put their names on the shack by different characters in the board game to represent who they are.”
Shack-A-Thon features different events throughout the week and has dinner served each night. Monday included a capture the flag game followed by performances from Percussion Studio, Freudian Slip and Swaram Acapella. Tuesday consisted of games and a documentary. Today there will be a rock-paper-scissors tournament, scavenger hunt and advocacy speakers.
“We did something new this year where we have a Shack Olympics,” Navarro said. “We have a bunch of different games that we put together that are team-oriented. At the end of the week, whoever has the most amount of points will win a trophy.”
The importance of team building and an awareness of substandard housing attracts many organizations, Jake Beaird, an environmental design sophomore and counselor for Freshman Organizing and Running Mixed Events (FORME) said.
“Shack-A-Thon really builds unity in the organization; there’s a lot of work put into the shack,” Beaird said. “Shack-A-Thon is a great opportunity for team building. It gets a lot of people involved and teaches you how to time manage when trying to get the Shack done as fast as you can. You also get a bit of insight into what it’s like to step out of your dorm or a nice house and live in a plywood shack.”