Program celebrates hands-on learning with drafting, engineering projects
by Melanie Patterson
Apr 12, 2012 | 1072 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Students in the Drafting Design Engineering Technology Department hosted a reception Tuesday night to highlight participation in Habitat for Humanity and NASA Great Moonbuggy Race. Photo by: Melanie Patterson
Students in the Drafting Design Engineering Technology Department hosted a reception Tuesday night to highlight participation in Habitat for Humanity and NASA Great Moonbuggy Race. Photo by: Melanie Patterson
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This week, Bevill State Community College program celebrated its two major projects that reach out to the community and give students hands-on learning.

Bevill State’s Drafting Design Engineering Technology Department hosted a reception Tuesday night at the school’s Sumiton campus to highlight students’ participation in Habitat for Humanity and NASA Great Moonbuggy Race projects.

“It’s not just drafting anymore,” said Maurice Ingle, who heads up the DDET department. The projects, especially the moonbuggy event, also heavily incorporate the college’s welding and machine shop schools.

But it is the the students’ involvement in Habitat for Humanity that impacts the most lives.

“I hope my students understand how important it is to be a part of this,” Ingle said. “Here you have a part in changing someone’s life. ... they’re designing something that’s going to be real. ”

Ingle’s drafting students are working on house plans that Habitat for Humanity volunteers will turn into bricks and mortar. Some of the students said they wanted to volunteer to help with building, too.

“My goal is for us to design a house and then build a house,” Ingle said. “What better way to learn the ins and outs than by building what you’ve designed?”

The houses will be built in Hackleburg, in Marion County. The town was devastated by a tornado on April 27, 2011.

Rob Crook, vice president of Habitat for Humanity of Marion County, said the organization broke ground Wednesday on one of the Bevill State students’ houses.

“These plans are going to be phenomenal,” he said. “There’s no better satisfaction you get than to see a family move in ... to see it change their lives.”

Crook added that builders often do not have a set of blueprints on-site when building Habitat houses.

The students’ plans are printed, however, and will be at the construction sites. Ingle said the department could use industry help with the cost of printing house plans; she said funds are running out to make the large-format copies.

Ingle likes the real-world experience her students are gaining through the Habitat for Humanity project.

“The students are better prepared for the workforce,” Ingle said. “That’s the name of the game.”

She said they are being much more thorough with the Habitat designs than they would for a paper-only project.

Her students building the moonbuggies are also learning to be thorough. NASA has strict specifications that the buggies must meet to be eligible for the race.

More than 90 teams will be competing. Bevill’s two teams will take to the course about noon.

“I pray that through the NASA Great Moonbuggy Race and the Habitat for Humanity projects that these students have learned something they will carry with them the rest of their lives,” Ingle said.

“What an exciting, exciting program,” said Bevill State President Dr. Anne S. McNutt. “It’s all about the applied real life learning.”

She said Ingle has taught the students things that will prove valuable to them “now and in the future.”