Pairs are evident in the word Tennessee, with two n’s, two s’s, and two e’s comprising the state’s namesake.
The same mantra goes for the ISU student chapter of the Association of General Contractors in their two trips to the Volunteer state.
With damages to several homes from an August storm still lingering into the spring, 34 students made a trip to Jonesborough, Tenn., in March to lend a helping hand as well as uphold one of Association of General Contractors' missions.
“The local community [of Jonesborough] was shown that volunteers really can come from out of nowhere to stand up and make a difference in communities, and that’s really a mission [Association of General Contractors] stands for, that leadership aspect,” said Joel Robinson, junior in construction engineering and crew leader on the spring trip.
In partnering with the Appalachian Service Project, a Christian nonprofit organization whose mission is to repair homes for low-income families in the region, Association of General Contractors members were able to make two trips in November and March during Thanskgiving and Spring Break, respectively.
Their efforts this March paid dividends as four houses in five days were completed, or “dried-in.”
“That’s where windows and doors are in, the metal roof is on; everything except the drywall, electrical and plumbing [is completed],” Robinson said.
With these four houses complimenting three previously completed houses in November, the chapter has been able to make a difference in the Jonesborough community.
“The homeowners were just more than happy. They couldn’t express enough how happy they were,” said Ryan Emerson, junior in construction engineering and Association of General Contractors member.
Robinson said that every day they were there, they had cars pull off to the side of the street to thank them for the work they had done.
“All your friends may be going to Panama City Beach or somewhere in Florida [for Spring Break], and that may be fun, but I think giving that up to go do the service trip, the hospitality that we had and the amount of excitement from the owners and [Appalachian Service Project], they made us feel significant,” Emerson said.
While making a difference in Jonesborough, students were also able to attain two service event credits, an essential component to maintaining Association of General Contractors membership.
Further opportunities for service are in the works as a possibility looms to add a third possible service trip to compliment annual Thanksgiving and Spring Break trips.
“There’s always that time after finals that people go home, but there’s a week before Christmas. I want to see if it’d be possible to set up a trip before Winter Break,” Robinson said.
As to where the members could wind up for the potential December trip remains to be determined.
"Given that it’d be colder up here, we could travel directly south to Oklahoma, tornado alley, maybe Joplin, Mo.,” Robinson said.
Regardless of where a third trip could take them, a third additional service option would allow for more flexibility in member accreditation as well as another opportunity to provide service for communities in need.
“It gives people options, so if they don’t want to miss Thanksgiving Break or give up their Spring Break, they could go on this winter trip,” Robinson said.