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Hammers, nails, saws and smiles

Construction Engineering students built playhouses for area non-profit organizations.By Diane DeSimone, lecturer, Department of Engineering Technology, College of Engineering

Undergraduate students in the Contruction Engineering Technology program not only learn the finer points of construction, but also discover the happiness of giving back to the community.

In keeping with the UNT Bold Goal of excellent undergraduate educational experience, the students gain hands-on construction experience in their very first course - Construction Methods and Materials. Utilizing the excellent lab facilities at Discovery Park, the students learn the practical aspects of saws, hammers, nails, sheetrock ... to build 36 square foot backyard playhouses from scratch. In the second semester, the students finish the playhouses with electricity, plumbing, trim and carpet.

In the end, the students have gained a greater appreciation of what construction work entails, and have a greater empathy as project managers working with craftsmen in their career field.

Importantly, the learning doesn't stop with the practical application of methods and materials. 

Bold Goal 3 speaks to service to constituencies, and Bold Goal 4 is to be leaders in the communities. At the beginning of the spring semester, students identify non-profit organizations in the North Texas community to be recipients of the playhouses.  In May, upon completion, the playhouses are donated to the non-profits who use the gifts for fund-raising.

Past recipients have included Denton's Hearts for Homes, Denton Salvation Army, Denton County Friends of the FamilyCook Children's Medical Center, Metroport Meals-on-Wheels and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The record holder for the most funds raised so far is the Denton Animal Shelter Foundation which raised $2,500 selling raffle tickets for the playhouse at the North Texas State Fair.

The donations raise funds for the organizations helping the Denton community, and raise the spirits of the students who are watching the smiles on faces when the playhouses are loaded onto flatbed trailers to go to their final destinations.  Each spring, it is an experience to be remembered.

Above and below, students with their handiwork.

Construction Engineering students built playhouses for area non-profit organizations.

Posted on: Wed 01 August 2012

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