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

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

The Battalion

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BUILD pushes for more fall participants

Photo by File

BUILD unites groups in the construction of portable medical clinics

BUILD hopes to galvanize campus to participate in its mission by constructing a prototype pod for students to see and walk through at April’s Kyle Field Day.
Each fall semester students are invited to help turn shipping containers into portable medical units for at-need communities around the world. Turnout has not met expectations however, and BUILD — the student organization responsible for pod construction and delivery — hopes that a display pod will translate into greater participation down the road.
The push for more volunteers comes as BUILD continues to adapt its construction process and enters its fourth year of operation.
“Honestly, we’re kind of scared because it’s a big step forward,” said Marshall Grey, BUILD CEO and mechanical engineering senior. “We want to perfect our construction process and perfect all of the operations that go into filling these containers so that when volunteers come out, we can be as prepared for them as possible.”
BUILD’s first project began in 2013 with the construction of a home for a single mother and her family. Now in its fourth year of operation, the organization hopes to continue converting 12 large shipping containers into portable medical clinics to send to locations in need. Past pods have gone to Haiti, Honduras and Kenya.
Garret Carstens, BUILD fundraising team leader and industrial engineering junior, said the introduction of the clinic project has helped promote the organization and encourage people to donate to the organization’s cause.
“We’re really excited about everything that we’ve done so far and everything BUILD is going towards,” Carstens said.
The first clinics were built in 2014 as part of a three-year project to create 12 portable medical clinics that would be dedicated to the 12 students who died in the 1999 Aggie Bonfire Collapse. Grey said each year BUILD has focused on developing the clinics’ construction organization and design.
Carstens said the organization’s sights are set on increasing recognition of what the organization does and how students can participate.
“We’re pushing to have this container centrally located on campus and that way [students] can see the prototype,” Grey said. “That way, we can say, ‘Hey, come volunteer out at this site to honor those that we lost in the Bonfire Collapse.’”
Grey said the design of the containers improves each year.
“For instance, we’re trying to make these more sanitary,” Grey said.  “The first year, we had vinyl tile, and there were a lot of holes where bacteria could accumulate. Well the second year, we were able to do single vinyl flooring that we just rolled out of the containers, so that really helped.”
Faith Prasatik, international studies sophomore. has helped build previous pods for BUILD.
“Participating in [BUILD], you felt like you were going to be making a difference — even if it was little — and be a part of something bigger than yourself, because you were putting in effort to something that was planned to help other people around the world,” Prasatik said.
Wynston Cooper, industrial engineering junior, was able to help out with logistics and volunteer on the construction of the project throughout the fall 2015 semester.
“We were able to send [the containers] off and just being able to meet people from all parts of campus, coming together for one central project,” Cooper said. “It was an incredible experience.”

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