Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
The MIT chapter of Habitat for Humanity raised $1,420 on Sunday (April 2) in the kickoff of an eight-month Campus Build drive to raise $80,000 to build three houses, one in Boston and two overseas.
In addition to the fundraising, 85 volunteers wielded power tools and hammers to construct 62 wood frames on the plaza of the Stratton Student Center. The frames will be used at 15 Habitat construction sites in Roxbury. About 50,000 families are on waiting lists for affordable housing in Boston.
"The response to our event was astounding," said MIT Habitat for Humanity President Catherine Foo, a sophomore in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS). "It really shows that MIT students and faculty have an interest in service and dedication to the surrounding community."
The volunteers enjoyed the balmy weather and the shared sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. They also had fun.
"I do Habitat because after all the theory and problem sets are done, I feel incomplete," said Goutam Reddy, also a sophomore in EECS. "Habitat allows me to put my hands on something physical and real, and leave a positive change in the world. And I like to play with power tools."
Freshman David Reinharth said he joined Habitat because "I like to work with my hands on a worthwhile project and leave feeling I've accomplished something."
"It's a real concrete form of community service," said Fred Choi, another EECS sophomore. "You're able to see the results at the end of the day."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 5, 2000.