October 22, 2019

Art & Lifestyle:

CSM Students Give Back to Community

CSM Students Give Back to Community

It’s a great feeling when students can apply what they’ve learned in class to help solve a problem and do some good in the world. Just ask students from the construction management program at the College of Southern Maryland.

These students recently had the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to a real-world need. More than 20 students, faculty, staff, and others joined 300 other volunteers across Charles County to provide critical renovations to selected homes as part of the Rebuilding Together Charles County’s National Rebuilding Day on April 27.

“This program brings an element of reality to the construction management degree program,” said CSM Construction Management Program Coordinator Tony Stout about the college’s annual involvement with Rebuilding Together Charles County. “Students are able to take what they’ve learned in theory and apply it to an actual project. These lessons not only apply to the physical construction process but also to the leadership and management aspects of construction. It is often these soft skills that employees lack when entering the workforce; so, any opportunity we can provide that enhances those skills for our students is also a win-win situation for employers in the community.”

The CSM crew repaired and replaced sections of a back deck on their project house in Nanjemoy and removed old underpinning and replaced it with new underpinning to reduce cold air flow to the crawl space of the home.

They also repaired the soffit and fascia on the exterior of a home addition and repaired the front steps that posed a fall hazard for the homeowner. The team cleaned gutters, installed leaf guards, and improved the landscaping by adding flowers and plants around the home.

“It was definitely an experience I was grateful to be a part of and will remember forever,” said CSM student Laura Lyon of La Plata, one of the construction management students working on the project. “There were things we were able to work through as individuals and/or teams, and there were certain key milestones and goals throughout the day that we were able to meet. Everything we did – all our focus and everyone involved – was 100 percent tied to reaching that end goal and getting this project completed for the homeowner. It was a wonderful sight to see so many different individuals come together to work, learn and give back to the community.”

In addition to Ms. Lyon, other CSM students participating included Riley Taylor of La Plata, Brittney Harris-Holloway of Lusby, Neko Ennis of Brandywine, Morgan Blackwell of Waldorf, Jacob Fields of La Plata, Jeffrey Gardiner of Mechanicsville, Cregg Powell of Chesapeake Beach and Jeana Papagno of La Plata. CSM faculty and staff who helped on-site included Mr. Stout, Associate Professor Barbara Abdul-Karim, Facilities Coordinator Laura Dyson, Creative Services Director Lisa Jones, and Adjunct Faculty Mark Wenner. Master Gardeners Brent Burdick, Carol Teets and Paris Reed also assisted, along with several other volunteers.

This year, five home sites in Charles County received these kinds of free repairs organized and funded through Rebuilding Together Charles County, a program that works to rehabilitate the houses of low-income homeowners, elderly and disabled, so that they may continue to live in warmth, safety and independence. Rebuilding Together Charles County Coordinator Sandie Branan said the number of projects was kept low this year because of the extent of repairs needed at the selected homes.

For more on CSM’s Construction Management degree program, visit the college’s website.

For more about the College of Southern Maryland, visit its Leader member page.

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