Ashley Borja, a junior mechanical engineering major, died last spring in a car accident. She is remembered for being president of the Bradley chapter of Habitat for Humanity, amongst many other things.
Habitat for Humanity is in the process of building a home on N.E. Monroe Street, located about 10 minutes from campus, in memory of Borja.
“The home is currently in construction, and we’re hoping to get it finished up this spring,” Jordan Nelson, community development representative for Habitat for Humanity, said. “For Ashley’s memorial, we had her family and friends come and help build on the house for a couple of days. That was special for them.”
Amanda Hammer, a senior community wellness major, was one of Borja’s friends who took part in building the home.
“I put up drywall, and I also helped paint gardening pots outside,” Hammer said. “Everyone had something to do.”
Hammer said Borja was passionate about Habitat for Humanity, and she frequently assisted in building homes through the organization.
“[The memorial build] was really, really rewarding because Ashley … helped build a few houses that she’s told me about,” Hammer said. “It really did leave an impact and led to her starting her own organization, something she grew passion for from [Habitat for Humanity].”
Borja founded the Bradley chapter of To Write Love on Her Arms, an organization with the mission to “present hope and find help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide,” according to the organization’s website.
The home being built in Borja’s name is one of four homes within a block that Habitat is constructing or plans to begin work on. Two of them are already finished and inhabited, and the Borja memorial build is expected to be completed in a few months. The already-finished homes were made entirely by volunteers, one being completed by all women and the other by veterans.
According to her family and friends, the passing of Ashley was felt widely throughout the Bradley community. Two of the university’s core values are a commitment to community and service, traits that Ashley exemplified in every way.
“The Bradley community is one that is very connected with the community around it,” Nelson said. “This is a human-element. This is [someone] that we’re building houses for in memorial of. Especially to the community, it connects them to something bigger than just building a home.”
Donations can be made to the Ashley Memorial Build by going to Habitat for Humanity’s website at habitatpeoria.org/donate. Proceeds will go toward the remainder of the house’s construction.