Maroon Edition volunteer project expands with real ‘Painted House’

August 1, 2009 10:36:00 PM



STARKVILLE -- The Maroon Edition First-Year Reading Experience at Mississippi State University is joining with Starkville Habitat for Humanity to add a service learning component to the new program. 


The Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity House project kicks off Aug. 10 in conjunction with the university''s Service Dogs Day. 


Coordinated by the Maroon Volunteer Center, the project will require an estimated 2,000 hours of service. Scheduled for completion by February 2010, the completed structure will provide a home to a family of five.  


"This is the first time a major academic project has been tied to a service project," said Service Dogs adviser April Hieselt. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our students, as well as the whole MSU family, to be a part of improving our community while helping change the life of a needy family." 


Earlier this year, the Maroon Edition was initiated by the Office of the Provost to engage incoming freshmen and others in the campus community in reading the same book to serve as a basis for intellectual and cultural discussion. "The Painted House" (Dell, 2001), another best-seller by novelist and MSU alumnus John Grisham, was selected as the first book for the common reading program. 


Heiselt, an assistant professor of counseling and educational psychology, said incorporation of the Habitat house will help give a better focus to the concept of "a painted house." The project also will provide participants the opportunity to "distinguish themselves and provide a true sense of pride," she added. 


Following the Aug. 10 kickoff, the work schedule will require 50 volunteers to work in two shifts from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 11-15. Then, from Aug. 21 on, 48 volunteers per weekend (or 12 per shift) will be needed for four shifts on Fridays and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon and 1p.m. to 5 p.m.  


Heiselt said donations also are being accepted to defray the cost of building materials. 


Those interested in participating may enroll at the Maroon Edition website,  


More information also is available at