09:02 PM

STC students participate in annual Builders Blitz event sponsored by Habitat for Humanity

Caption: STC HVAC&R instructor Arturo Zamarripa (far left) inspects work being completed by students at a job site in east Edinburg. Participating in Habitat for Humanity’s Builders Blitz event, students with with STC’s College Construction Supervision Program, along with its Electrician Program as well as HVAC&R receive hands-on experience while becoming close with the people they serve.

Students from South Texas College – Design & Building Technology Department are partnering with a local builder, subcontractors, suppliers and trade professionals seeking to build a house from the ground up within the span of a week.

Participating in Habitat for Humanity’s Builders Blitz event taking place in San Carlos, a community east of Edinburg, students with STC’s College Construction Supervision Program, along with its Electrician Program and HVAC&R in turn receive hands-on experience while becoming close with the people they serve.

“Instead of our students being in a class, this is like their lab. They are here at a real job site” said Rey Sanchez, Design Building Technology Program Chair at STC. “Students from the HVACR program will install/fabricate the AC system, and students from the Electrician program will wire the house, “rough-in” with the assistance of faculty and 24 students. Students are expected to return to the project on Friday and complete the “electrical finish”. Students are reflecting a vital mission of the college, placing a strong value in giving back to the community, and taking what they have learned to make a difference in the lives of Valley families”

Construction students often work with various humanitarian groups including Habitat for Humanity, Proyecto Azteca and Buckner International. At the construction site, students spent the day doing various jobs including all electrical work, insulation, drywall installation, painting, flooring, cabinets, trim and doors to benefit a family in a need.

“I brought my capstone class today. These are my students who are planning to graduate in December,” said Arturo Zamarripa, a full-time faculty instructor in the HVAC&R Program at STC. “This is a hands-on experience that they are gaining right now. We show them how to fabricate duct board, and we have another group running refrigerant lines.

“It’s very important for them to learn now because this is real world experience, and it enables them to understand the proper steps needed to do the job right,” Zamarripa said.

Habitat for Humanity receives applications year-round, and actively seeks low-income families to work with. Homeowners are then responsible for 300 “sweat equity” hours while their home is being constructed. The process then includes community volunteers who help organize the families, and then makes a determination of their eligibility.

This year’s home recipient is a single mother who is in need of a home for her three daughters. The job home will be located at 124 S. 83 ½ in San Carlos. Construction is slated to take place from Sept. 11 to Sept. 16.

“This family was previously renting a mobile home located near a mechanic’s shop. The youngest daughter happened to get lead poisoning due to their proximity to the shop,” said Heriberto Orta, Program Director at Habitat for Humanity. “It was a very unsafe and unhealthy environment where they were living, but they came to us and submitted their application. Thankfully, all of the requirements were met and they agreed to help us build their house.”