"The shelter doesn't look like a basement anymore," she said. "It's more welcoming."
As the nation's only student-run shelter, raising the $800,000 for the project was a joint effort between students, the University and the church.
The church's stewardship committee called upon Harvard alumni and the 350 members of the congregation to raise over $1 million, which helped to fund renovations for both the shelter and the church.
Students organized fundraisers for the project, including a walk-a-thon at the Gordon Indoor Track and Tennis Center that raised over $2,000. The University put up $25,000 in matching funds toward the project.
One student volunteer, Melissa A. Morris '01, said she is enthusiastic about the new face of the shelter but also recognizes that it could also present challenges. Since the shelter has never been handicapped accessible before, she anticipates more handicapped guests, along with other logistical changes.
Tom Chittick, reverend of the University Lutheran Church, hopes that student volunteers at the shelter will become so passionate about their service there that they will look into studying policy issues, and after leaving college will address and help to remedy the issue of homelessness in this country.
Chittick hopes to soon employ a work-study graduate student at the shelter to act as a facilitator to help the undergraduate volunteers process their experiences and point them toward courses at the University dealing with issues of homelessness, poverty and social justice.
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