By ABBY SOUZA
The Columbia College Student Senate is contributing to events well beyond campus boundaries these days.
With the help of at least 10 students on Saturday, Senate members and Habitat for Humanity volunteers worked together on the two houses being built on Cedar Street in Tuolumne.
"It's been a great project," Miranda Redenbaugh, a student senator studying liberal arts at Columbia. She heads up the partnership with Habitat launched in mid-January.
On Saturday, several students and other volunteers finished building rock walls around the two homes while others painted the interiors. Students have also helped the Habitat program by selling candy in front of Wal-Mart.
"The Senate put forth two priorities this year increased visibility and community involvement," said Coni Chavez, the staff adviser for Columbia College's student senate.
Redenbaugh said one of the student senator looked into the Habitat for Humanity program and asked that the Senate get on board. Since then, helping with these two homes has been Redenbaugh's and the Senate's community project.
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, Christian housing ministry created to put those in need into a home. Using volunteer labor and donated money and materials, Habitat builds simple home.
They are sold to the families at no profit and financed with no-interest loans.
Monthly mortgage payments are used to build more Habitat homes.
Since 1976, Habitat has built 125,000 houses in more than 80 countries and 45,000 in the United States. There are 76 Habitat groups operating in California.
Local Habitat affiliates coordinate the building of the houses and the selection of families who live in the homes.
The new homeowners are selected through an application process that establishes need and the ability to pay back the no-interest mortgage equal to the cost of building the home.