TuckBuilds gives back to community

by Astrid Bradley | 8/21/07 3:55am

Before their introduction to the world of post-graduate finance, 24 incoming students to the Tuck School of Business are trying their hands at construction through TuckBuilds, a week long pre-orientation program of building projects and dinner discussions focused on using business knowledge as a method of impacting the community.

The program, which began on Monday, gives students the opportunity to meet new classmates in a non-classroom setting and recognize how to incorporate service into their daily lives, Kristyn McLeod Tu'08 said.

McLeod coordinates this year's program along with two other Tuck second-year's, Kristen Cullen Tu'08 and Wendy Hession Tu'08.

"We had such an amazing introduction to Tuck and the Upper Valley through the program last year that all of us wanted to make sure that other students had the same opportunity to available them," McLeod said.

TuckBuilds currently maintains a partnership with two non profits from the Upper Valley area, COVER Home Repair and Reuse Program, and WISE, which provides services to survivors of domestic and sexual abuse who aide in deciding the work sites.

Students are assigned to three different projects, which include building a pitched roof on the mobile home of an elderly couple, reconstructing a new entrance to a strucure and assisting with the renovations of the new WISE center.

COVER's philosophy calls for all able-bodied family members to participate in the reconstruction of their home, allowing volunteers to really understand the extent of their work.

"I think it's really unique, it helps people understand these families in need when they get to work with them -- its not just community service," McLeod said.

She continued to say that one woman whose house was worked on last year who was not able to physically assist with the projects prepared lunches for the group and even a birthday cake for one of the students as a token of her appreciation.

At the end of each day, students in the program meet together for dinner to participate in discussions with peers as well as listen to speeches by an assortment of local area leaders.

This year's peakers include Ann Waterman, special assistant to the COO of Boston Public Schools, and Peggy O'Neil, executive director of WISE

McLeod said that students walk away with a wide range of skills after participating in the program.

"I don't think a lot of these students have necessarily ever painted a house," she said.

Scraping, painting and learning how to roof a house are some of the skills that McLeod said volunteers acquire while working.

TuckBuilds is run in cooperation with Tuck's Allwin Initiative for Corporate Citizenship, an organization that allows students the opportunity to develop managerial skills across the intersecting worlds of business and society.

Due to the limited number of sites, students who would like to take part in TuckBuilds are put into a lottery, and 24 random students are selected for the program.

McLeod said that she hopes additional non-profit organizations from the Upper Valley area will choose to participate in TuckBuilds in the future, which would afford the possibility of increased student involvement.

"The more projects that we get from upper valley non profits the more students can participate," McLeod said.

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