CSU, Chico News

Blitz Build is Going to Joplin—Needs Your Help!

Date: 02-27-2012

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
David Shirah
Department of Construction Management

Students from the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management are once again headed to another state to help victims of a natural disaster. On March 14, 87 students and four faculty members from ECC, California State University, Chico, will fly to Joplin, Mo., for an eight-day project to erect four houses.

The tornado that struck Joplin on May 22, 2011 wrecked its destruction in a 22-mile by one-mile path, destroying 8,500 structures and leaving 161 dead in its path. The property damage is estimated to be $3 billion.

In Joplin, the students, representing the student chapter of American General Contractors (AGC), will work 12-hour days on the four structures: two structurally insulated panel houses, one second-story major remodel and one wood frame house. Insurance money for the homeowners will pay for the materials. Students have received the names and stories of the recipients, so they have a sense of the people they are going to help, said student Chad Dykeman, in charge of fundraising for the project.

To get to Joplin, house and feed themselves, the students will need approximately $1,000 each, or almost $90,000. They’ve raised a little over one-third of that and have asked the parent organization of AGC to help them out. However, they are asking community organizations and individuals for contributions.

Many community members and groups have already given generously. The Enloe Medical Center, for example, has offered to provide CPR training for the construction management students participating in the Blitz Build. They will conduct five, four-hour training sessions, free of charge.

Joplin will be the seventh community-service project completed during winter or spring breaks. For three years, beginning in 2006, Chico students, faculty and other volunteers traveled to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, which occurred in 2005. In 2009, the mainly construction management students helped build 13 storage structures for victims of the 2008 Concow fires in Butte County. And in 2010 and 2011, the students, calling their project “Blitz Build” because of the amount of work that got done in a short amount of time, built four houses for Catalyst Domestic Violence Services in Chico.

“The rewards to all of us, especially the students, have been phenomenal as a result of the community service projects, both at home and in New Orleans,” said construction management professor David Shirah, one of the two faculty advisors for the project. “We’ve decided to travel out of state every few years, as the benefits of helping in other places expand our vision and our connection to a larger world.”

If you would like to donate to the Blitz Build Joplin Project, you can contact Dykeman at chaddykeman@gmail.com. You can find out more about the project by going to the Web site at www.chicostateblitzbuild.org.