By Robby Smith, MPSA ’14

On Saturday, Mar. 2, 2013, Bush School students joined the Ybarra family at the Faith subdivision in North Bryan for the wall-raising ceremony marking the start of construction on their new home.

This ceremony marked the culmination of more than a year’s worth of work by Bush School students who started this project to honor President and Mrs. Bush with the dedication of a Habitat for Humanity house in their name.

The home will be owned by the Ybarra family, who has five children. Mr. Ybarra has already put in 230 of 500 hours of sweat equity required by Habitat homeowners.

Once the decision was made and approval granted to move forward with the project, the fundraising began with a goal of $40,000. Considering the complexity of the plan, this effort was unique among the student fundraising efforts here, according to Travis Stalcup, second year MPIA student and project lead.

“It’s small enough that a part-time fundraising group like us can make it, but it’s also large enough that no one can simply write a check or host a bake sale to cover the whole thing.”

Stalcup said that they needed a plan, and executing that plan took more than a semester.

Bush School students helped in the fundraising by personally donating, making calls to donors, and participating in the trivia night fundraiser in the fall.

“This was a Bush School student-project, which gave us a lot of control over the fundraising process, but also 100% of the responsibility,” Stalcup said.

“The Bush School does a lot of volunteering and a bit of fundraising for events, but to my knowledge it hasn’t done something that’s a stand-alone project and not partnered with other groups.”

Stalcup and others believe this is a great cause students should be a part of.

“Moreover, of all the student projects, this is the one that will remain 30+ years from now,” Stalcup added.

Habitat is at the forefront of providing affordable housing to the Bryan/ College Station area.