A six-year series of community service projects has helped define our commitment to community. Those projects began in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina when the College of Engineering, Computer Technology and Construction Managements’ (ECC) sent a contingent of students, faculty and staff to New Orleans to assist in clean up. In 2007, ECC, led by the Department of Construction Management, again sent 60 students during their winter vacation to assist in clean up and re-building. In 2008, another 115 students spent their winter vacation building 14 homes in 10 days.
The next three winter vacations, volunteers and their advisors agreed to donate their time and resources to some dire local needs. In 2009, volunteers built 12 fire-resistant sheds for some of the residents of Concow, California, who had lost their homes in a wildfire that torched more than 60,000 acres and burned 200 homes. Five local contractors who donated time, expertise and equipment assisted them.
For the last two years, the ECC volunteers have undertaken the construction of four bungalows, two each year, for Catalyst Domestic Violence Services, dubbed “Blitz Build.” These projects involved approximately 150 volunteers from across the campus and community, the help, again, of local contractors who contributed time every week in planning with the students, providing technical assistance and donating materials and tools. The first two bungalows, built in 2010, received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. This was a feat in and of itself, and represented the first two residential buildings to receive gold certification in Chico. That the students did this at a 30 percent lower cost than a standard home is nothing short of phenomenal.