About 125 incoming freshmen at Centenary College have worked up a sweat ahead of fall semester that begins Wednesday. The students cleaned out a house in Shreveport on Monday as part of a new partnership with Community Renewal International and two other organizations. Centenary president David Rowe worked alongside the students.
“We’re launching today with a lot of service projects around the community where they’re working under the leadership of these volunteer agencies, and giving back to the Shreveport area," Rowe said, standing outside the home on Fairfield Avenue where students in blue T-shirts flooded in and out carrying loaded down garbage bags.
Community Renewal International founder Mack McCarter said the home was donated to his organization about five years ago. The new partnership with Centenary provides the initial sweat equity, he said, to get the house ready for use as a training space for Community Renewal.
“It’s taken us a long time to be able to get here and begin to rebuild from the bottom up. With Centenary’s incredible help this provides a spark for us that is going to go way past bricks and mortar," McCarter said.
The work is part of Centenary’s World Houses initiative, where students not only live together but they have a specific mission to further public good by building sustainable communities in Shreveport. Claire Mathews, 18, is on board with it.
“I just want to watch this grow. I want to be able to look back in four years and this is thriving. And I want to be able to say that I was a part of that," Mathews said.
The two other community partners include Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana and Shreveport Green.