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Beta Tau builds stronger sense of community

By Hope McGowen

Beta Tau builds stronger sense of community

Author: Hope McGowen
Magazine Section: Engagement
Article Type: Feature
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Over the past year, the Beta Tau “Builders of Tomorrow” honorary fraternity has increased its service work efforts by 75 percent, according to Purdue chapter president Sarah Ciardi.

Over the past year, the Beta Tau “Builders of Tomorrow” honorary fraternity has increased its service work efforts by 75 percent, according to Purdue chapter president Sarah Ciardi.

A major goal of Beta Tau is to provide Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) students a place to complete construction-related service projects. “We want to give back to the community,” Ciardi says. “We’re very privileged to be at this university, and I think it’s important for us to take our skills and our talents and to put them back into our community.”

In the fall of 2015, Beta Tau members volunteered their time and personal tools to build retention walls at Happy Hollow Park. “We were able to use our construction background to ensure that the park would no longer have to deal with erosion problems in those areas,” Ciardi explains.

Many students share that desire to give back to the community. CEM sophomores Amber Reiff and Annie Gassner have taken on leadership roles in the Purdue chapter of Habitat for Humanity as VP of Development and VP of Operations, respectively.

“Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity is a great opportunity to get some service work done. You dedicate some of your time on a Saturday to put in hard work and help build better homes, and you get some fun times in with friends,” Reiff says. “It’s so worth it!”

One weekend each month, Beta Tau members work with both the Purdue and Lafayette chapters of Habitat for Humanity to complete construction projects on houses in the greater Lafayette area.

On the first Saturday in March 2016, several CEM student volunteers were greeted at the Habitat for Humanity office with great news about the focus of their work for the day. They were assigned a demolition project.Members of Beta Tau stand in front of an abandoned house they worked on with Habitat for HumanityWatching excitement flood the room and their faces light up at the prospect of destroying the interior of an old, run-down house was admittedly a little strange at first, but it made sense. A love for construction runs deep in their veins.

Tearing down walls and wrecking old ceilings with sledge hammers would eventually present those students with another opportunity: a chance to rebuild. That is part of the beauty of their service work. Using construction engineering knowledge and teamwork, Beta Tau members engaged in the community are able to take what is old and make it new again.

According to Habitat for Humanity of Lafayette, Beta Tau has been the most involved campus group over the past year. It is not the only service organization the honor fraternity volunteers with, however. 

“We’re trying to get more involved with several groups around Lafayette,” says Ciardi. Beta Tau has worked closely with Habitat for Humanity and Happy Hollow over the last several months, but they would also like to complete future projects with Lilly Nature Center (the Celery Bog), It’s My Closet, and Almost Home Humane Society.

The best part of tackling community service projects with members of Beta Tau, according to Ciardi, is getting to know other CEM students outside of class. “It really allows us to become one big dysfunctional family,” she jokes.

Extending that sense of solidarity from the CEM family out into the community is what sets Beta Tau apart. They truly are the “Builders of Tomorrow,” building a brighter future one service project at a time.