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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Built to Last: BUILD celebrates its 10th anniversary of building life-saving clinics

Photo by Ishika Samant

BUILD CFO Albert Tran, CEO Kate-Riley Rogers, Marketing Team Leader Lauryn Kastenschmidt, COO Chase Parrish stand for a photo in The Battalion Studio. 

Ten years ago, then-Deputy Corps Commander Bryson Sutterfield, Class of 2013, founded BUILD to create a collaborative project for generations of Texas A&M students after the university displaced Bonfire from campus following the 1999 Bonfire Collapse.

Today, the organization has launched numerous campaigns to create and provide Texas A&M Medical Clinics, or TAMCs, in areas of need, including countries as far as Costa Rica, Haiti and Jordan.

BUILD CEO and biomedical sciences and entomology senior Kate-Riley Rogers said BUILD has grown from its first project serving as a collaboration with Habitat for Humanity to planning, designing and constructing full-scale medical clinics.

“In 2013, the deputy corps commander talked to a lot of university leaders throughout campus and talked about how since 1999, the 14 years since the Bonfire collapsed, A&M hasn’t had a unifying project,” Rogers said. “Together, they sent a proposal to the university to establish BUILD as a student organization that year. The first project was building a habitat house for someone in the Bryan-College Station area. We then later found a niche for medical clinics. We started with 500 volunteers for our first project campaign, and now we’re up to 1,600 volunteers with our most recent projects, the TAMCs.”

BUILD has phased four main projects. The organization started with the Habitat for Humanity house in 2013. In 2014, BUILD launched 12 for 12, a campaign to dedicate 12 TAMCs in honor of the 12 fallen Aggies at Bonfire, completing all 12 TAMCs in 2016. Following 12 for 12, BUILD planned, designed and constructed five TAMCs to honor the number of Aggie veterans who played a crucial role in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.

The process of planning BUILD’s construction cycle takes a lot of organization between team members, BUILD COO and public health senior Chase Parrish said.

“We have a lot of leadership levels, designed to help lead our efforts and navigate volunteers,” Parrish said. “Whenever someone shows up to volunteer, we have student supervisors serve as the main point of contact with volunteers. We then have command team members who are more involved with planning the projects in-depth. Being a part of a command team gives you a chance to do construction and help organize this non-profit effort. Each team has a team lead who serves as the head of their department. The C-levels help make sure we are all working together. For 10 straight years, this organization has led great projects for the university.”

BUILD’s current project campaign, the Fallen Aggie Hero Project, is to create 37 TAMCs in honor of the 37 Aggie veterans killed on or after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Since 2018, BUILD has completed and shipped 24 TAMCs to locations all over the world. BUILD Marketing Team Leader and civil engineering junior Lauryn Kastenschmidt said the organization’s drive to further its mission has compelled her to continue professionally developing within the organization.

“I joined BUILD because I helped my dad build some shelves this summer … I came to A&M in full construction mode,” Kastenschmidt said. “When I saw this organization had a hammer as its logo, I immediately joined. I wasn’t even aware of the amazing things that BUILD had accomplished. Once I learned, I became determined to further our mission.”

The organization has an annual gala to celebrate the generous donors who have contributed over the years. This year’s gala will be extra special in honor of its 10th anniversary, inviting the organization’s founders, past leaders and donors. BUILD CFO and civil engineering senior Albert Tran said he hopes BUILD will continue to expand its scope after he graduates.

“I’d like for BUILD to get in touch more with different departments on campus,” Tran said. “This year, we are producing our first ever Texas A&M Veterinary Clinic or TVAC. This is a partnership with the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. It would be great to form more partnerships with the engineering school and construction science school.”

Dr. Easterwood conducted a semester-long project, splitting her students into seven teams to design a veterinary service project concept from a 40-foot shipping container for South Texas Animal Rescue, or STAR, in Corpus Christi, Texas. The winning team’s mobile veterinary clinic concept will help BUILD plan and design a TVAC to provide accessible veterinary care to underserved communities and improve health outcomes for rescued animals.

BUILD will open the site to volunteers for the fall 2023 construction phase on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Sep. 18 to Nov. 17. The BUILD site is located at 750 Agronomy Rd., near A&M’s General Services Complex. No construction experience is required to volunteer. Anyone may walk on as a volunteer as long as they are wearing a sleeved shirt, long pants and closed-toed shoes. BUILD asks that any student groups that would like to volunteer first book on their website.

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