As a decade-long tradition continues, a local mother has a new home for starting her own holiday traditions, thanks to a partnership between Mississippi State University and Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity.
The 10th Maroon Edition home, dedicated Monday, has had volunteers from MSU and Habitat for Humanity building a new living space for Lou’Quan Lucious and her three children. The fall semester project was completed for the family just in time for Christmas.
“I’m very excited,” Lucious said. “This is really for my kids.”
MSU President Mark E. Keenum has driven the ceremonial first nail for every Maroon Edition home, a project he said is a great source of pride. During Monday’s ceremony, Keenum presented Lucious with a family Bible.
“Your home is a shining beacon right here in this neighborhood of all the hard work that went into this, but also of the love that went into building your home,” Keenum said.
The new home is providing a better environment for Lucious, a supervisor at McDonald’s, and her children. She applied with Habitat and was selected in 2017, but the build was in a different area than the current Sunset location, so she elected to put off being a homeowner until this year to be closer to family. Last fall, she worked on the Maroon Edition home being built for her friend, Habitat partner Kareema Gillon. This fall, after her third child was born, she made time to work on her home while balancing family and work demands.
“Right now, I have two jobs, so when I couldn’t come in the daytime, they would let me come at night and would leave stuff out for me to do,” Lucious said.
The Maroon Edition program was initiated by MSU’s Office of the Provost in 2009 and has since brought students together annually around a common reading experience, while uniting more than 3,600 volunteers to build new homes for 10 Habitat partner families. This year’s Maroon Edition book was “Calico Joe” by MSU alumnus and bestselling author John Grisham. The first Maroon Edition book also was a Grisham novel, “A Painted House,” which inspired the Habitat partnership for the program.
Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity has provided more than 60 homes to local families. Several of these homes are located in the Sunset neighborhood.
“This is a special partnership with Mississippi State,” Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Joel Downey said. “We rely on the community a lot for raising funds to build houses. A lot of people come out as volunteers that are not associated with Mississippi State, but the majority of our workers, by far, are college students.”
MSU’s Maroon Volunteer Center works with Habitat for Humanity to coordinate volunteer opportunities for the students, faculty and staff who help build the home.
“This is more than community service — it is meaningful engagement,” MSU Interim Director of Student Leadership and Community Engagement Meggan Franks said. “It allows the students to learn about the community they will be in for four or more years, to build relationships with people they might otherwise not meet as a student, and to develop skills that they can use to help lead the communities of tomorrow. We appreciate this partnership, and I’m looking forward to the next decade with our Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity homes.”
For more on the Maroon Edition program, visit www.maroonedition.msstate.edu.
The Maroon Volunteer Center is online at mvc.msstate.edu; and Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity at starkvillehabitat.com.
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