Volunteer Spotlight: Nicholas Burger

Name: Nick Burger DC Habitat Volunteer Nick Burger standing at the Empowerhouse build site.

Occupation: Nick is a Research Economist at RAND, a non-profit research institution, studying environmental economics and international development.

Volunteer Projects: Nick has spent most of his time over the past few years working in Ivy City, primarily on Habitat’s ongoing passive homes. He got started volunteering for Habitat on the Empowerhouse in Deanwood, which he says was “a really fun first project.”

Involvement with DC Habitat: Nick first volunteered with DC Habitat in the spring of 2012, largely due to his wife’s suggestion. According to Nick, she saw him working on many projects around the house, and thought he might enjoy volunteering for Habitat. Given his pleasure and skill regarding that kind of work, he thought it would be a fantastic idea.

Favorite thing about volunteering with DC Habitat: Unable to pick just one favorite thing, Nick listed a few. First, he cites the people he works with on site, including Habitat staff, AmeriCorps, and other volunteers like himself. Second, he loves learning about building design and construction techniques. He explains, “Both the knowledge and the activity are so different from my work as an economist – it’s a really enjoyable change of pace.”

When he’s not volunteering: Given his expertise and happiness as a construction volunteer with DC Habitat, it is only fitting that for fun, Nick has completed a plethora of projects in his own home, from gut renovations of bedrooms to building his queen size bed frame.  Nick and his wife have also just welcomed a new son, Joshua, who has taken up much of his attention in the past few months.  Most recently, Nick decided to formally participate in DC’s local government by successfully running for one of Ward 6’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC 6B06).

Most rewarding day on site: Nick’s most rewarding day on site was one of his first, while working on the Empowerhouse. He describes how DC Habitat staff and volunteers worked together to place a series of incredibly large and heavy beams. For him, “it really drove home how great [we] work together to undertake major projects to benefit the community in DC.”

Most difficult day on site: Earlier this year, during an extremely tough winter, Nick still made it out to volunteer most Saturdays. He recalls one day, when it was 35 degrees, raining, and completely muddy, during which he and other staff/volunteers installed glass mat siding on a passive house. The weather made it a very unpleasant experience. However, it did inspire him to purchase a very nice pair of waterproof work boots!


By: Alix Eve Schram, Marketing and Development Associate at DC Habitat

DC Habitat believes that everyone deserves a house they want to call home. That's why we work to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness in the nation's capital by building (and rehabilitating) affordable, energy- and resource-efficient homes for people in need.