Project Spotlight: Rice Centennial House
Published: Sunday, August 21, 2011
Updated: Sunday, August 21, 2011 21:08
As Rice approaches its Centennial Celebration, several students are finding their opportunity to display Rice's dedication to its community by bringing diverse groups of students together in a united effort. The Rice Habitat for Humanity chapter has had the support of the School of Architecture, whose students have designed a home that is sustainable and affordable for a low-income family.
Several key Rice students to note in this common effort were McMurtry College senior Tawfik Jarjour, Chair of the Rice Centennial House Project; Courtney Benzon and Yoni Pressman, graduate students in the School of Architecture; and Hanszen College senior Taylor Hall, the President of Rice Habitat.
Yoni Pressman, who helped design the house along with fellow student Courtney Benzon, stressed that the house's design will allow it to weather Houston's hot and humid conditions.
"We are also reducing the amount of energy that the house will require by improving the insulation to make a very air-tight house, and insulating the attic so the AC can work more efficiently," Pressman delineated, emphasizing that the house should prove environmentfriendly and efficient in energy usage. "Many of the sustainable design choices we make in the Rice Centennial House will be adopted by Houston Habitat for the rest of its homes."
As Rice Habitat has already built three homes in the past in 1997, 2000, and 2001, this home serves to spread knowledge about poverty housing, while helping a family overcome it. It also celebrates Rice's 100th year anniversary and shows Rice's commitment to its community.
According to the Rice Habitat Chapter's website, Habitat for Humanity currently has over 2,100 affiliates in 100 countries, and has erected over 400,000 homes for families stricken with poverty. Taylor Hall emphasizes that this global effort consists of individuals coming together for a common goal.
She states that the whole Rice community is involved, that this housing project is indeed a common effort. Everyone has brought something to the table, and Hall is no exception, as she has tried to acquire corporate sponsorships.
And while this effort strives to support the lofty goal of disseminating cognizance about the lack of housing for the poor, the home will perhaps mean the most to the participants of the project and the homeowners.
"This project will be life-changing for the future homeowner family, and will allow student groups across Rice's campus to unite together in one major service project," points out Tawfik Jarjour. "As a commemoration of Rice's Centennial, this project would be a tribute to Rice's commitment to serving the Houston community consistently over the past 100 years."
"While all parties involved should benefit through active volunteerism, the ultimate beneficiaries of this project would be the family who will live in the house and gain substantial opportunities living in a safe, clean, and friendly community," Jarjour said.
For those that are interested, there is a Student Activity Fair on August 26, where you can find out more about the Rice Centennial House Project.
"Project Spotlight" is a weekly feature that looks at notable student projects that are making a difference in the Rice community.