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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

BUILD begins fifth year

Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

BUILD began construction on five new medical clinics on Oct. 2.  Each clinic they build is dedicated to an Aggie veteran and their family. 

Just a short drive north of campus, students have the opportunity to put their construction skills to the test and work on a project that serves various developing communities. BUILD started its fifth year of construction last week and will continue until Nov. 17.
BUILD was founded in 2012 and partners with healthcare accessibility organization Medical Bridges to construct medical clinics contained in storage containers that are then sent to developing nations in need of healthcare and supplies. This year the organization is building five medical clinics and each one will honor an Aggie veteran and their family.
Last year, BUILD had roughly 1,400 student volunteers over the course of the semester and hopes to increase that number to over 2,000 this year.
“We are having some side projects for when we have an influx of volunteers so everyone can be involved and everyone can be a part of the project,” Amanda Wolken, BUILD chief executive officer and electrical engineering senior, said.
“Sometimes we get a lot of volunteers at once, which is great, but we want to have everyone serve a purpose and help while out there.”
The BUILD site is off of Agronomy Road near the General Services Complex and has been getting prepped for construction work since January.
“There was a lot of communication with our trucking department, manufacturer of the containers in Houston and getting the forklift there to operate it,” Matt Doherty, BUILD operations team leader and construction science junior, said. “The biggest thing is coordinating all the entities to make sure the project gets off smoothly.”
BUILD Chief Operating Officer and environmental design junior Kayla McCabe said her favorite part of the construction phase is seeing the number of Aggies that come to the site.
“I love being out on-site with everyone,” McCabe said. “One Friday night last year, we probably had close to 80 volunteers and just seeing the fact that all those people gave up a few minutes of their time or an hour of their day to come work on something is my favorite part of what we do.”
Since its inception, BUILD has constructed 13 different medical clinics that have gone to nine different countries with the help of over 3,000 students.
“When you come out to the site and see people from every major, every college and every classification, you just see everyone coming together and building something, and it is inspiring,” McCabe said. “Going to class you can see Aggies coming together, but when you get out here, you really understand the Aggie Spirit.”
The mission of BUILD is to get as many students from all areas of campus to work on the project as a community, Wolken said.
“We want to see students come out who might not work together in any other form, don’t have classes together, may not be in the same clubs or organizations,” Wolken said. “BUILD can be the uniting factor where everyone can come out, put their hands on this project, and it can be the effort of the student body, not just BUILD itself.”
Doherty said through BUILD students are able to make an impact on each other while impacting developing countries.
“We are able to bring together the university, bring together all the students into one physically uniting service project and send these clinics off to third world countries and impact people all over the world without having to leave campus,” Doherty said.

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