College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Iowa State Chapter of Associated General Contractors (ISU AGC) donates $5K to Appalachia Service Project

ISU AGC works on securing the beams of their house (Courtesy AGC)
ISU AGC works on securing the beams of their house (Courtesy AGC)
ISU AGC works on securing the beams of their house (Courtesy Charlie Sweeney)

With winnings from Race to Build, Iowa State students keep on giving

If you received $5,000 right now, how would you use it? Though some of us may struggle with this question, the choice for students in the Iowa State University Chapter of Associated General Contractors (ISU AGC) is clear. Give it to someone who needs it.

Fifteen members of ISU AGC spent last weekend in Bristol, Tennessee, where they competed—through the wind and the rainy conditions—in the Race to Build. The Race to Build is organized by the Appalachia Service Project, or ASP. In the race, three college teams competed to see which team could finish the outer shell of a house in an allotted 20-hour period.

This is the first year that the ASP has hosted the competition. Iowa State went head-to-head with Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee. ISU won the inaugural title by completing the most work, earning the team $5,000 in prize money. Of course, the team didn’t keep that money for long.

“We just felt like we really didn’t need the money,” said Dan Carlson, a leader of the team. “What [ASP] is doing down there, they deserve the money more than we do.”

The team donated the entire sum of its winnings back to ASP so the organization could finish the houses. Each house went to a single mother from the local community.

Though this is the first year for the Race to Win, it isn’t the first time ISU AGC has worked with the ASP. In fact, the group first worked with the service organization in 2012, after floods destroyed homes in the area. Walter Crouch, President and CEO of the ASP, says the students brought their can-do attitude back to the state in last weekend’s competition.

“The enthusiasm and great spirits of the Iowa State build team inspired everyone,” Crouch said. “They engaged the task with a plan and exhibited exceptional teamwork and camaraderie, resulting in incredible results. They built, not for reward or recognition, but for a family in need and the purpose that comes from serving others. We are proud to have Iowa State as the winners of our first Race to Build Appalachia Service Project Cup!”

He has invited ISU AGC to come back to defend the title in the next race.

The college teams constructed their houses just outside the track of Bristol Motor Speedway. Though the rain cancelled the race planned for that weekend, the students took time out to meet with race car driver Matt Kenseth (check out Kenseth’s Facebook page for more) and to answer questions for the Bristol Herald Courier’s article, “College students race to build homes for low-income families.”

Members of ISU AGC take time to snap a group photo (Courtesy AGC)
Members of ISU AGC take time to snap a group photo (Courtesy Charlie Sweeney)

Perhaps the real win was the champion attitudes of these students. After all, Carlson and his teammates are quick to admit, “we didn’t go down there to win money.”

“We went down there to help people,” he said.

Want to hear more about awesome student organizations? Make sure to follow ISU CCEE on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (Iowa State University Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering and ISUConE).