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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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BUILD hits halfway, calls for elbow grease

Scott Lovett (left), land economics and real estate graduate student, sweeps the rust off a shipping container that will be transformed into a medical pod. 
Scott Lovett (left), land economics and real estate graduate student, sweeps the rust off a shipping container that will be transformed into a medical pod. 

Although BUILD’s current mobile medical units project has reached its halfway point, chief executive officer Drew Allen said there is still plenty of work to be done.
BUILD, a student-led organization aiming to unite students through on-campus construction projects, has been working from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for approximately two weeks building mobile medical units to send to impoverished areas.
Allen said the four units will be sent to Bolivia, Colombia, Haiti and Honduras to provide healthcare to communities that may not have medical care in the area.
“When we put out the first feelers on what countries we wanted them to go to, people jumped at the opportunity to get something like this,” Allen said. “It was really cool to see. The people down there are so grateful and appreciative. It’s unbelievable the impact that something like this will have because some of these places don’t have healthcare for miles.”
The units have been cleaned, wired with electricity and fitted with a wooden wall foundation and insulation. Allen said Fort Worth Electric installed the wires.
The project is working with Medical Bridges, a non-profit organization out of Houston.
“[The organizations] receive the units and sustain them while they’re there, so we don’t just drop of a clinic there and it doesn’t get used,” Allen said. “There’s someone that runs it, operates it and all that. They’re our liaison over there.
Each unit has three exam areas, one of which can be closed off for privacy. The project expects to be finished by Nov. 15, when A&M hosts Missouri. BUILD will host a tailgate so students and members of the public can stop by and see the units.
Bryson Sutterfield, Class of 2013 and BUILD founder, said the project has made astounding progress in its two years. He said the idea was originally a project to help Corps of Cadets members interact, but said it evolved into something much more.
“The motivation at the outset was just to bring students together on campus again to build something, work, sweat alongside other Aggies and watch something be built in front of you,” Sutterfield said.
Last year, BUILD built a house for a member of the community. Sutterfield said the medical units represent an evolution of the original project.
“The one thing that I didn’t want to sink into was letting them get complacent with, ‘We know exactly what we build, so we’re just going to pigeon-hole ourselves and this is all we’re going to do,’ but instead to evolve and adapt to the student body,” Sutterfield said.
Gayle Kuizon, nursing senior, volunteered with BUILD Tuesday afternoon and encourages students to take part in the project.
“If people contribute just a little bit, so much can get done with little effort on the individual,” Kuizon said. “Even if you can contribute 30 minutes or an hour, I think it contributes so much to them.”
Katie Dachniwsky, nursing senior, also volunteered. She said the least students can do is give back to the community through projects like BUILD.
“This community gives all of us so much when we go to school here,” Dachniwsky said. “We may only be here four years, but the least we can do is give back a little bit during that time.”
Students interested in volunteering can sign up via buildtamu.edu or by emailing [email protected].

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