Participants in the Renaissance Kids “Compelling Dwellings” architecture camp work on a construction project.

Photo credit Darren Heslop, University Communication staff photographer

August 8, 2019

Renaissance Kids hold auction benefit to build tiny house

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich.—An auction of items constructed during the Renaissance Kids “Compelling Dwellings” architecture camp at Andrews University was held last Sunday, August 4, to benefit “Tiny Houses for Big Change.”

Playhouses, doghouses, birdhouses and artwork—all designed and built by kids—were up for auction. A few local artists  donated works, as well as Whirlpool. A stainless steel refrigerator, range, dishwasher and microwave and other small appliances were open to bidders.

Attendees enjoyed refreshments throughout the event and live music was provided by Aiden Schnell, who has participated in previous Renaissance Kids architecture camps, his father Bill, and Dennis Waite, professor at Andrews University.

“Tiny Houses for Big Change,” a ministry of the Benton Harbor Saint Augustine’s Episcopal Church youth group, has raised over $35,000 to build a tiny house for a person in need. Harbor Habitat for Humanity committed to donate land. Other partnering organizations, the Interfaith Action Alliance, area churches and the Andrews University School of Architecture & Interior Design, have also provided support. 

Students in the Andrews University architecture program have designed ten tiny house schemes, and the 2020 design/build class is ready to construct the house when funds are available.

“Renaissance Kids goals are to empower kids to believe they can make a positive impact in their communities and to work together to solve problems. We are grateful that so many people and organizations have come together with kids to fulfill an idea that originally came from them,” says Mark Moreno, founder/director of Renaissance Kids and associate professor in the School of Architecture & Interior Design.

This summer marked the 13th annual Andrews University School of Architecture & Interior Design Renaissance Kids architecture camp. The “Compelling Dwellings” theme provided children and teens ages 5–16, in four different age groups, the opportunity to engage in fun, creative and educational hands-on projects associated with architecture. 

Renaissance Kids began in 2007, with a goal of “building with kids to build kids up.” It aspires to make complex ideas accessible to young minds by providing tools for them to better understand the relationship between people and the physical world. 

      Founded in 1874, Andrews University is the flagship institution of higher education for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and offers more than 200 areas of study including advanced degrees. Its main campus is in Berrien Springs, Michigan, but the University also provides instruction at colleges and universities in 19 countries around the world.


Gillian Panigot, media communications manager & FOCUS editor, University Communication