Stories of Change

Renato Balducci: NSU's Habitat for Humanity

"I came to the U.S., four years ago, with no English at all." Renato Balducci came from Brazil to build communication skills. Transferring to Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences expanded Renato's goals. Now, this pre-med student is building homes and building communities. Renato started NSU's Habitat for Humanity chapter.

Portuguese is Renato's first language. "I came to learn English- I found out that I could continue my education." Service fuels his success. His GPA and volunteer hours earned him international student scholarships. Academic awards made Renato an NSU biology major. Service is how Renato learns beyond the classroom.

Renato believes "to be somebody," he has to know other languages. He lives this lesson from his mother: "Se você tem um limāo, faça uma limonada." He's thrilled Americans know this: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." NSU leadership programs show students how.

NSU has unlimited opportunities to practice language and caring. Renato discovered the Office of Student Engagement at NSU's International Orientation. Student Engagement helps students build skills and have fun. Leaders Gone Wild is an Alternative Spring Break program. Renato participated in 2008, serving Habitat for Humanity in Georgia.
Renato's driven by a passion to communicate. He's a member of the Pre-Medical Society. Language differences like a Georgia accent challenge Renato. He's glad. "I have to find another way to interact." Volunteering strengthens patience. It will make him a better osteopathic doctor.

Renato says, "Many people live under bridges" in his country. Habitat for Humanity showed Renato how everyone can help. NSU students helped actual home owners build their house. One owner said, "You came from Brazil to help build my house?" It improved his opinion of foreigners. Service changes lives and minds.

Habitat for Humanity inspired Renato. He asked, "Why don't we have a group of Nova students coming here every year?" The answer: "Why don't you start one?"

Terry Morrow also attended Leaders Gone Wild. She's the Director of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement. Her division of Student Affairs supported Renato's Habitat for Humanity idea. Morrow gives guidance, but student leaders like Renato must act. Renato spent 6 months creating NSU's chapter.

Renato's leadership goal is to bring people together. "I want a club that interacts with other clubs." Invite Beta Beta Beta and Chicks on Point. Invite the International Muslim Student Association. He welcomes all to the NSU Habitat for Humanity chapter. Help NSU build homes and build understanding!