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Dan CassellDan Cassell
Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity

 For the past three years, Dan Cassell has spent a good number of his weekends and breaks helping Habitat for Humanity construct homes for people in need -- and he's made a few friends as well.

How did you get involved with Habitat for Humanity?
I had known about it for a while, and I saw the opportunity for a spring break trip my freshman year.

Which project with Habitat has been most rewarding?
Organizing the spring break trip to Columbus, Georgia, last year was great. It was forty-one people in six vans traveling over a thousand miles in two days. The trip itself was amazing because it was a blitz build -- over 200 college students building 10 homes! We built the biggest one and collaborated on another with Pitt students.

How does your work with Habitat affect your overall experience at IC?
I've made so many friends! Obviously the community service is personally satisfying, but meeting people you wouldn't normally meet around campus -- whether on a weekend build or a break trip -- will have a real lasting value.

What do new students need to know about Habitat at IC?
Work experience is not required, and it's not all guys -- on our last spring break trip to Georgia, 28 of the 41 people who went were women. There's a good mix of people at a site, and a good mix of work to be done. There is always at least one contractor on site, and veteran student builders who are always happy to teach people.

If Jimmy Carter is working on a project for Habitat, do the Secret Service guys have to build, too?
Ha ha! I'd imagine a couple of them probably assist him. But what you really need to worry about on a build site is incorrectly measured cuts. Even an ex-president can't build with pieces that don't fit.

Dan Cassell '11 is an athletic training major and outdoor recreation minor from Concord, New Hampshire. He is currently the vice president for academics in the Ithaca College Student Government Association.