Students Build Housing for Families in Transition
Keeping with an annual tradition of aiding those in need, students from the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management forfeited their spring vacations to build two duplexes in just eight days for families transitioning out of rehabilitation.
More than a year went into planning the 2014 CSU, Chico Winter Community Service Project, which involved nearly 200 volunteers; 20 industry suppliers, subcontractors, and sponsors; and support from community benefactors.
Volunteers worked from 6 am to 10 pm March 14–21 to complete the 1,600-square-foot duplexes, located at West Eighth and Salem Streets in Chico. Adding to the challenge, the students planned for the units to be LEED Platinum certified and meet stringent environmental building requirements.
The project will fill a vital need for single-parent families transitioning out of the Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation program and into the new Ann and Emmett Skinner Transitional Living Program.
“The Salvation Army greatly appreciates the collaboration with CSU, Chico and the City of Chico,” says Salvation Army Chico Corps Envoy Dennis Stumpf. “We’re excited to offer this transitional program for single-parent families and so grateful for the generous community support we’ve received.”
Each year, construction management students plan and lead a community service project. Past projects have included rebuilding homes in tornado-struck Joplin, Missouri; barn raising at the local Patrick Ranch Museum; building homes for Catalyst Domestic Violence Services in Chico; and rebuilding houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
The 20-person student leadership team was guided by faculty members Alan Bond, James O’Bannon, and David Shirah and Assistant Manager of Utilities and Sustainability Marie Patterson.
“Instilling the joy of giving in our students is one of the best aspects of this project,” says O’Bannon. “Once they experience that, they will keep doing it their whole lives. From a practical standpoint, students who graduate with experience like this are a step ahead of those at other colleges.”
“Because we’re involved from start to finish, we gain tremendous knowledge of how the building process works,” says project manager Justin Besotes, who graduated in May with a degree in construction management. “We get hands-on experience, from planning the project to going out and building it. It puts in perspective what we’re learning in our classes.”
CSU, Chico Students Tops in Conservation Competition
California State University, Chico residence hall students led the way this year in a national competition to conserve electricity and water.
The results of the 2014 Campus Conservation Nationals, posted in early May, listed CSU, Chico with nine other schools as the leaders among 109 campuses participating in the United States and Canada. For three weeks during the spring semester, more than 400 Shasta and Lassen Hall residents competed to reduce energy consumption compared to baseline energy use established earlier in the semester.
Not only did the students’ efforts place CSU, Chico in the top 10 nationally, but the amount of energy they reduced was the highest of any school in the competition.
“The students, mostly through changes in behavior, were able to conserve over 7,500 kilowatt hours in just three weeks—cutting electricity consumption in both buildings by nearly 20 percent as soon as the competition started—and then holding that reduction, with slight increases, for the duration,” says Fletcher Alexander, campus sustainability coordinator for CSU, Chico’s Institute for Sustainable Development. “This is a tremendous achievement by our students and shows their commitment to conservation.”
The competition was hosted by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC); Lucid, a California-based software company; the Alliance to Save Energy; and the National Wildlife Federation. More than 265,000 students in all participated in the competition, now in its fourth year.