Spectrum Logo
A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

CAUS teams up with affordable-housing group

By Anne Fowler,

University Relations intern

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 32 - June 4, 1998

An agreement has been reached between the New River Valley Habitat for Humanity and the Virginia Tech Foundation on behalf of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies to build a home for the less fortunate. The College of Architecture will raise $35,000 for the project and will provide the student volunteers while Habitat for Humanity will oversee the entire project from obtaining the proper permits to providing any necessary training for project supervisors.
Fourth-year undergraduate architecture and building construction students have the opportunity to take a class titled Design and Construction of a Habitat for Humanity Home. During fall semester, the course focuses on the "design and documentation of a single-family home that meets the criteria set by the New River Valley Habitat for Humanity Affiliate." The spring-semester course will consist of "design implementation, construction administration and hands-on construction of the previously designed home."
Jack Davis, chair of the professional program in the Department of Architecture and a member of the Board of Directors at the NRV Habitat for Humanity, hopes this partnership will heighten community awareness among his students as well as increase their involvement in social issues. Davis says, "It is my intent that students will increase their professional knowledge base, gain construction experience, and learn that their talents can be applied to the service of society."
This project stems from Davis' involvement with the NRV Habitat for Humanity. He said that Paul Knox, dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, would also like to see students gain valuable real-life experience while helping others live better lives through outreach and public service.
"Virginia Tech has been actively involved with Habitat for Humanity for over 10 years and has provided many hours of volunteer service in the New River Valley," said Terri Fitzwater, the executive director of the NRV Habitat for Humanity. She said she is confident that the project will build community service while helping the less fortunate in the NRV area.
The New River Valley Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1986 by local residents who wanted to make affordable housing available. The first house was begun in August 1987, and 14 houses were already completed by January 1996. The mission of the New River Valley Habitat for Humanity is to eliminate poverty housing through community service. This makes it possible for low-income families to own their own home. Houses are built using volunteer labor, donated or low-cost materials, and cash donations. After the houses are completed they are then sold to qualified applicants at no profit with zero-percent mortgage loans. Services are also offered after the families move in to their new homes to provide on-going encouragement and support.