ASME, EWB students help build house during spring break

Though many college students view spring break as a time for rest and relaxation, a group of 17 Penn Staters spent their spring break building a home for a family in need.

Engineering students from the groups Engineers Without Borders-Penn State (EWB-PSU) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), as well as students from the philanthropic group Boulevard, teamed up to spend a week in Warwick, Ga., helping the Fuller Center for Housing to construct a home.

Warwick is a small town about three hours south of Atlanta with a population of fewer than 500 people.

The trip was organized by Kathleen Prilutski, a sophomore engineering student planning to major in mechanical engineering.

"Last year, I organized the EWB-PSU spring break service trip to Plaquemines, La. -- 20 minutes south of New Orleans -- with my friend Jill Morris," said Prilutski. "Personally, I wanted to continue this spring break trip as a way to give back and help out."

Prilutski says she originally wanted EWB-PSU and ASME to both be involved in the trip so that the two engineering clubs could develop a closer working relationship. Boulevard was brought into the mix through her friend and Boulevard member Stephen Dillon, also an engineering student.

Boulevard, a relatively new group on campus, is a philanthropic group that performs various acts of service throughout the year.

"I think people have realized how imperative service is to society," said Prilutski. "This service trip has reinforced my belief of moving forward and forcing me to be a responsible adult in society by giving back to others. If you want to see something done, then go out and do it yourself."

The Fuller Center for Housing is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing adequate, affordable housing for people in need. The home Penn State students helped to construct with the Fuller Center will be purchased by Walter Vinson, a farmer who has lived in the Warwick area his whole life, his wife Erica, and their daughter.

"Both [Walter and Erica] were extremely positive individuals who seemed like they never gave up on anything," explained Prilutski. "I was honored to help build their home."

ASME is advised by Karen Thole, department head in mechanical and nuclear engineering. EWB-PSU is advised by John Lamancusa, professor of mechanical engineering, who was recently elected to the EWB-USA Faculty Leadership Council.

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Last Updated March 30, 2012