Morse Scholarship winner works to diversify volunteer base
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
MANHATTAN — Thanks to a generous scholarship, one Kansas State University student is working to help Manhattan's Habitat for Humanity diversify its volunteer base.
Alec Hathaway, senior in strategic communications and a minor in political science, Manhattan, has worked as a social media and public relations intern for Manhattan Area Habitat for Humanity since September 2018. He is the winner of the 2019 Marjorie J. and Richard L. D. Morse Family and Community Public Policy Scholarship.
The scholarship, which is administered through the K-State Libraries, is supporting Hathaway in his work spearheading Women Build, a campaign designed to garner community support and attract new volunteers, specifically women, for the cultivation and restoration of Habitat for Humanity homes.
While Habitat for Humanity has promoted Women Build events across the country since 1991, this is the first such event in Manhattan.
"Historically, there are fewer women volunteers for the construction side of Habitat for Humanity's work," Hathaway said. "My responsibility for the project was to attract women to participate in several community workshops that equipped them with new building skills. The hope is that once women are comfortable on the job site, we can broaden our audience base, raise volunteer rates and, most importantly, restore and build homes for families in need."
Hathaway, who is a graduate of Wichita South High School, developed a promotional campaign for Women Build in early April to spread the word about the event to existing volunteers and reach a broader demographic through marketing. His efforts generated sponsorships and donations from local businesses and individuals in support of the Women Build events.
On May 8-11, dozens of participants gathered for the sold-out Women Build opportunities at several locations across Manhattan. They completed workshops on basic home repair and took part in opportunities to exercise their new-found knowledge through hands-on projects at existing Habitat for Humanity homes and partner sites.
Later this summer, Hathaway's goals include converting Women Build participants into engaged Habitat for Humanity volunteers. He would also like to leverage the community experience to engage local policymakers in a conversation about affordable, safe housing.
The Morse Scholarship has been awarded annually since 2001. It was made possible through an endowment established by Marjorie J. and Richard L. D. Morse. Richard Morse was a Kansas State University professor and chair of the family economics department. Marjorie Morse became an expert in child care issues and served in numerous positions in that area throughout her career. In recognition of their financial support of K-State Libraries special collections, the Richard L. D. and Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections was named in their honor in 1997.