NORMAN — One student group on the University of Oklahoma South Oval Tuesday morning had a guitar player strumming for attention; another brought a pair of Yorkshire terrier puppies.
“You just can’t say no to that face,” Domonick Cavallo said as he held a puppy inside a small red pail.
He was one of many OU students who took turns filling the South Oval for Shack-a-Thon, an annual event that raises funds for Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity. They started before 8 a.m. Tuesday, building makeshift shacks out of straight and boxed cardboard, wood and other materials, and asking passers-by for donations to Habitat for Humanity with mid to high levels of intensity.
Tracy Curtis, the agency’s executive director, said the annual event “is crucial” for her agency. Shack-a-thon last year raised more than $6,300.
“It takes $70,000 to fund a house and in today’s economic environment, it’s really hard to raise that amount of money,” Curtis said. “So for the students to work together on this is very important. It’s really empowering and the money will stay here in this area to help families.”
Amberleigh Jewart of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority said the giving Tuesday morning came in waves when students inundated the oval between classes.
Students took turns camping overnight on the South Oval, in and near their shacks, until this morning. Garrett Fox, a Purcell sophomore, remembers the experience from last year.
“It was cold, but a good time to study,” he said. “”I got a very, very, very small dose of what it’s like living without a home, at least for one night, sleeping on wet grass.”
Some students like Cavallo, an OU freshman and Norman North graduate, use gimmicks like his puppies to draw more attention — and donations.