Building a better community

Alec Hathaway, a K-State undergraduate student, brings together the Manhattan community for Women Build

Creating a more diverse and inclusive community can start with one person and one idea. For Alec Hathaway, an undergraduate student in strategic communications, he decided to create an event for the Manhattan Area Habitat for Humanity to empower women to build with Habitat.

“There was an entire untapped demographic within our community that we were overlooking — strong, empowered women,” Alec said. “I wanted to help break the barrier that women felt was keeping them from volunteering for the jobs that are predominantly done by men.”

Thus began the idea of creating a Women Build event in Manhattan. Women Build is an experience through which Habitat for Humanity provides the opportunity for women to take a proactive step in serving their communities. No experience necessary. 

Alec Hathaway is also the recipient of the Marjorie J. and Richard L. D. Morse Family and Community Public Policy Scholarship. This scholarship provides funds to support a project that gives a student the experience of working with and in a community setting.

With this scholarship, Alec was able to put together the first Women Build event in Manhattan. “Breaking stigmas is revolutionary work at the state level or worldwide. This campaign has allowed us to reach a new demographic and make them feel welcome and comfortable,” Alec said.

Using the knowledge from his classes at Kansas State University allowed Alec to understand and implement his skills in a real-life scenario. “Campaign cultivation is an example of what I will be doing within my profession, so it was amazing to see it all play out,” Alec said.

Alec’s main focus during this campaign was all the work put into an event before it happens. Alongside another intern, Alec and the team were in charge of breaking down the overall goals for the event, getting all the donors and sponsorships secured, as well as handling the social media messages sent. 

The day of the event, the focus was on the participants and volunteers and making sure they were taken care of, including food, beverages and gift bags. “I got to see exactly what it is like to do hands-on work for a nonprofit organization, which is something I plan to continue to do in the future,” said Alec.

On May 8-11, dozens of volunteers showed up at several different locations across Manhattan for the sold-out Women Build event. “We were so pleasantly surprised by the turnout and the amount of community engagement toward this cause,” Alec said. “The Manhattan Area Habitat for Humanity will continue the Women Build events in years to come, hoping for a greater turn out every year!”

Alec understands that this event was not only important for him and his goals, but for the goals of Habitat for Humanity and the Manhattan community. “This experience gave me the opportunity to help broaden Habitat’s reach, while opening doors for women who have abilities and desires to help this amazing organization.”  

With the help of the Morse Family scholarship, Alec was able to spread his power as an individual and push the community toward a more inclusive environment for people seeking to help out, which was one of Alec’s main goals. “We need to continuously talk about and work toward having a more diverse system in which everyone feels welcome and accepted,” said Alec.

For more information on the Manhattan Area Habitat for Humanity and ways you can get involved, please follow this link.

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