Building Science Program Recognized with National AGC in the Community Award
The McWhorter School of Building Science (BSCI) has once again been recognized with a national award from the Association of General Contractors (AGC) for outstanding community service carried out through the school’s Construction Field Lab course. This hands-on service learning course, directed by Dr. Scott Kramer, J.E. Wilborn Endowed Chair and Professor, connects students with local non-profit organizations to develop and execute community-based construction projects. Mike Hosey, Construction Field Lab Manager, accepted the 2022 AGC in the Community Award on behalf of the program at the AGC of America’s Annual Convention in Grapevine, Texas, this past March.
In the Construction Field Lab class, six teams of ten students spend 400 hours throughout the semester creating solutions for a non-profit of their choosing. Kramer personally vets every project and helps non-profits prepare their pitches for the students. He encourages students to get involved in ways that go beyond pouring concrete and creating structures by building relationships within the community. At The Curtis House, an Opelika non-profit that offers community-building activities, students have completed work across several semesters to build a house and an outdoor pavilion for gatherings and celebrations. In Lineville, Alabama, students have worked with Samson’s Strength Sustainable Veterans Project to build a collection of footprint houses, no larger than 850 square feet, for military veterans who are struggling with homelessness or joblessness. And since the creation of the field lab course in 2018, students have participated in the completion of five homes for Auburn Opelika Habitat for Humanity.
In the fall of 2020, students were able to start using the new Robins & Morton Construction Field Lab at Auburn University to support their work on service learning projects. Made possible through a generous gift of more than $1.3 million dollars from construction firm Robins & Morton, the construction field lab features a high-bay building with four bays, two of which are fully enclosed and protected from the elements. Students are able to pre-fabricate wall panels at the field lab before taking them to a job site, allowing the program to take on projects in a broader geographical area.
AGC of America has repeatedly honored Auburn’s commitment to service with the National AGC in the Community Award in 2022, a Special Recognition Community Award in 2020 and the Community Development Award in 2019. Also in 2019, Kramer was honored with an Auburn University Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach and in 2022 received Auburn’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for humanitarian leadership and contributions to the community.
“We’re so honored to have received this award,” stated Kramer. “We feel so strongly about teaching our students the importance of service to others, and it’s wonderful to see our program recognized for that.”
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