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CM course links students, youth with community

May 13, 2011

This spring, the Department of Construction Management, College of Applied Human Sciences, offered an experimental service-learning class focused on sustainable design and construction entitled "Applied Sustainable Project Delivery."

CM offers new service courseConstruction Management students show off their sustainable doghouses constructed in six weeks in collaboration with Centennial High School high school students.

Supported by a CSU Institute for Learning and Teaching Service Learning faculty mini grant, this course engages at-risk teens and the community through a hands-on service project, and empowers CSU construction management graduate and undergraduate students to be leaders, stewards and mentors by managing a real-world, community project focused on sustainability.

The course supports a broader initiative within the department called CM Cares, which has as its objective to infuse the traits of community service, leadership, team building, and ethics throughout the culture of the Construction Management Program through CM-related community service projects that allow students to apply classroom skills in real-world applications.

Partnering to teach construction, sustainability

Assistant Professors Caroline Clevenger and Mehmet Ozbek teamed up with Centennial High School and Unless Design Collaborative to have CSU students work directly with high school students in the shop for six weeks to build two sustainable doghouses to benefit and raise awareness for the Rocky Mountain Great Dane Rescue, Incorporated.

Dustin Kalanick, co-founder of Unless Design Collaborative, a non-profit design services firm based in Loveland, Colo., worked tirelessly in classrooms of both CSU and Centennial to design the doghouses and assist CSU students to create lesson plans and teach high school students about construction and sustainability.

Kalanick, Kreisher awarded for service

Jerry Kreisher is the trades shop class teacher at Centennial High School and supervised CSU and Centennial High School students as they were working together in the shop. Together, along with CSU faculty, they provided the experience, support and confidence to help CSU students seamlessly transition to working with non-traditional youth. Both were instrumental in facilitating a successful collaboration and learning environment. For their efforts Kalanick and Kreisher received the Exceptional Achievement in Service-learning Community Partnership Award given by the University.

“It has been an amazing and rewarding opportunity to work on this project,” says Kalanick. “We are excited to see both the university and high school students empowered as leaders and teachers through their hands-on work that will benefit RMGDRI and the community."

Doghouses unveiledThis course attempts to combine community service, leadership, team building, and ethics through applying classroom skills in real-world applications.

The sustainable doghouses were unveiled April 11 at an all-school ceremony at Centennial High School. The doghouses were also showcased at CSU’s Sustainability Fair on the Lory Student Center Plaza April 20 and Fort Collins's Earth Day celebration at Civic Center Park April 23. At the Earth Day event, RMGDRI, a non-profit organization that rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes Great Danes, placed a record six dogs in new homes.

Offering successful course again

Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. “This course was very successful by many measures. We are particularly proud of our students, two of whom recently won two awards for their work in the class,” said Ozbek, a service-learning scholar at CSU. Undergraduates Craig Everson and Julianne Canterbury, won high honors for their outstanding performance in the Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity Showcase, and highest honors in the service-learning category.

Clevenger and Ozbek are excited to offer the class again next year and are appreciative of their students who were flexible and adaptable in meeting the inevitable challenges and opportunities of an experimental class. They hope to see some of the Centennial students again. At the end of the course, one Centennial High School student said, “I learned a lot. I’ll be seeing you at CSU’s [Department of CM] soon!”

Contact: Gretchen Gerding
Phone: (970) 491-5182