Construction Management students at Western Nevada College learned a great deal about wall studs, rim joists and framing this spring. But they also learned a great deal more. Principally, they learned about humanitarianism.
Through Nigel Harrisonâ€™s construction classes, students helped remodel the Friends In Service Helping (FISH) thrift storefront in downtown Carson City, as well as constructing stage sets that were used in the collegeâ€™s musical theatre productions.
â€œIâ€™m an old preacherâ€™s kid, said Robert Ford, WNC Construction Management program instructor. â€œI do believe in humanitarianism and volunteerism.â€
Itâ€™s important, Ford said, â€œespecially for some of the younger students, to get out there and work with some of the impoverished people, some people who really need help and are going through a rough time, because it keeps them in that mindset that this is serious stuff. If you are going to have a program and you are going to teach skills trades, you have to have the humanity side with it, too. Thatâ€™s the best way to learn.â€
Ford said that when he was at Western Carolina University, construction management students contributed 2,600 community hours in just two semesters. For their efforts, the students were awarded the national chapter of the year for the Associated Builders and Contractors.
â€œI would like to eventually have it be a one-hour course because itâ€™s an awesome thing and they learn so much,â€ Ford said. â€œA big thing about leadership is humanity and how to deal with different personality traits and conflicts. You have personal conflicts in a construction crew and you donâ€™t know what that person is facing at home.