This holiday season, Dunwoody’s Student Government Association is focusing on giving back to the community and families in need.
In addition to overseeing clubs and organizations on campus, Dunwoody College of Technology’s Student Government Association (SGA) focuses much of its efforts on volunteerism and giving back to the community.
In September, SGA volunteered with Feed My Starving Children. The students packed 136 boxes of food that would provide 29,376 meals to children in Haiti. And in November, the students spent time at Ebenezer Care Center where they played bingo with the residents of the nursing home.
“We’re representing the student body and being in a leadership role, I think it’s crucial to give back to the community,” SGA President Danial Hannover said. “Volunteering and doing a little extra is all a part of being a leader.”
SGA hosts holiday drives for families in need
In addition to volunteering their time, SGA organized several drives to benefit families in need this holiday season.
With Thanksgiving in mind, SGA held a food drive throughout the month of November. The drive benefitted The Food Group, a full-service food bank with over 200 hunger relief partners throughout Minnesota. The Food Group provides free food, access to bulk food purchasing, and food drive programs to communities throughout the state.
By the end of the drive, SGA collected enough food items from the Dunwoody community to fill a 55-gallon barrel.
This month, SGA is focusing on the winter holidays by collecting winter clothing and gear donations for the Salvation Army. They’re also holding a competition to see which academic department can raise the most toys to benefit Toys for Tots.
The Association will be collecting winter clothing and gear until Friday, Dec. 23. Academic departments will be collecting toys for Toys for Tots until Friday, Dec. 16. Winners of the Toys for Tots drive will be announced on Monday, Dec. 19.
“There’s a lot of families out there in need – especially during the holiday season,” SGA member Tommy Dao said. “We take a lot of things for granted, and we want to give a helping hand whenever we can.”
The project—led by Architecture Instructor Molly Reichert and Center Founder Will Steger—began in late August, when students spent a week at the Center in Ely, MN. Here students studied the Center, learned of the building requirements set forth by Steger, and camped at the location where the new structure will be built!
Students have since split into several small teams, each working to design a different options of what the dining hall could be. Steger will then use the designs as he seeks funding for the structure.
But creating the schematic design proposals hasn’t been as easy as some of the student’s past design projects. It has required a lot of one-on-one time with the client, new approaches to design, and even critiques from the Birchwood Café’s Chef Marshall Paulson.
Advice from industry experts gives students a taste of life in the industry
As someone who has spent most of his time in a kitchen, Paulson was able to provide students with a unique and necessary perspective to each of their designs. During his presentation, Paulson shared industry tips and best practices on things that might not have immediately come to mind for the students, including sink location, cabinetry space, number of drawers, preferred shelving structures, ideal appliances, kitchen health codes, budgets, and timelines.
Architecture student James Matthes said that the critique was extremely valuable, helping him and his group identify a few areas of improvement that could be made to their design.
“It was really good to have his perspective,” Matthes said. “We bounced ideas off of him, and he was able to pick out a few things that we had missed, especially in regards to the openness of the kitchen to the dining room.”
In addition to help from Paulson, Matthes’ background in the restaurant business has also helped shape his schematic design.
Family business helped shape Architecture student’s design
“My dad owns a restaurant and I worked there for several years,” Matthes explained. “So I’ve been surrounded by kitchens my whole life—it’s kind of in my blood.”
With good Italian food, reasonable prices, and catering capabilities, Matthes’ family restaurant, Marino’s Deli’s, cliental and sales varied greatly. And those experiences have helped Matthes decide what the Center Dining Hall could look like and how to best accommodate a wide-array of customers and kitchen-needs.
“We have a very small restaurant, and we keep our prices fairly cheap so we get a huge mix of people coming in. So, I got that small, day-to-day interaction with people, but we also cater really large events. And that’s kind of what this Dining Hall space has to be flexible with: the people and both small events and big events.”
But one thing Matthes said he and his classmates were not as prepared for was the challenge of making a sustainable kitchen.
“It’s really tough to make a sustainable kitchen,” Matthes said. “You have these big pieces of equipment, and you’re constantly washing things—it’s a waste. But we’re exploring ideas on how to deal with waste and recycling and composting, and Will is interested in adding a root cellar and using an icehouse. And that’s not something we’ve done in past projects, like when we were-designing an apartment complex in downtown Minneapolis. It’s just not something we are used to seeing. So it brings a whole other perspective that should help all of us in the long-run.”
Studio provides real-world experience
While this studio hasn’t been the student’s first stab at design, Matthes shared that this particular project has been much more real than the projects conducted in year one and two.
“In the past it’s been ‘okay, here is our design. This looks cool, so let’s just go with that,’” Matthes said. “Whereas now [we ask] ‘does this appeal to the client and is it going to fit?’ And so from the get-go that was something we really concentrated on: to make sure that the design worked.
“It’s exhausting every design idea that we’ve had, and it has been stressful, but in the end, it’s worth it. It’s worth it to see a client happy and enjoying what they’re seeing.”
The students will present their designs at 9:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 16, at Dunwoody. Steger and Paulson as well as Founder of Birchwood Café Tracy Singleton and Mechanical Engineer and Alternative Energy Consultant Craig Tarr will be in attendance.
After the presentation, Steger will choose several student designs, or portions of their designs, to move forward with. The final building design will be dependent on funding and community support. The hope is to break ground in 2018.
Dunwoody’s new Veteran and Military Student Center is a central point for veterans and military students to study, find resources, and socialize.
Dean of Students Kelli Sattler began her work at Dunwoody College of Technology in July 2015 with a clear vision for creating a well-rounded student experience.
“Another important part of my role is to step back and think big picture about what our College is doing to support and empower students to be at their best,” Sattler wrote in a letter to students and parents. “In doing so, I collaborate with faculty, academic support, student services, and colleagues across campus. I also listen to students and lead the way in implementing their vision for the future.”
So when veterans and military students spoke up last spring about their need for a bigger space with more resources on campus, Sattler put a focus group together, listened to their needs, and got to work on a plan for a new Veteran and Military Student Center.
The Center opened earlier this fall.
Dunwoody students build a new center
Danial Hannover is a Construction Management student and President of the Student Government Association (SGA). He also served in the United States Marine Corps from 2008 to 2016. In that time, Hannover was deployed to Afghanistan twice. When he was honorably discharged in 2016, he was a Staff Sergeant (E-6).
Hannover has been working with Sattler to ensure that the new space offers the right kind of environment for veterans and military students to thrive.
“It’s a complete 180 from the last Veterans Center,” Hannover said. “Whenever I come in here there are at least four or five people studying, doing homework. And you see people talking and connecting with each other, which is cool.”
Donavan Sullivan also played a vital role in building the new Center. In addition to his four years of service in the Marine Corps, Sullivan was the Student President of the College’s honor society – Phi Theta Kappa – and the Multi-Cultural Student Union. Since graduating in May 2016, Sullivan has stayed with the College as an Admissions Counselor.
With his experience as a veteran, student, and employee, Sullivan offered a unique point of view.
“Some of the things that I suggested were moving it to a bigger space and updating the materials and resources in the Center,” Sullivan said. “We’re also working to get some TVs in there. One of them will play a PowerPoint presentation to show resources for students like the VA number and the suicide hotline. Suicide is a big issue in the veteran community. So I want that hotline number to just be out there constantly.”
Dunwoody establishes new programs to support veterans
In addition to building the new space, Sattler has been working with veterans on campus to establish Warrior Wednesdays and the Veteran and Military Student Organization.
Sattler’s goal for Warrior Wednesdays is to invite veteran-friendly employers in to talk to veteran students, giving students a chance to network with companies who are interested in hiring veterans. Comcast was the first company to participate in October.
“This will be sort of a one-company career fair,” Sullivan said. “Just to get them to come and meet with students about job opportunities for veterans.”
The Veteran and Military Student Organization had its first meeting in early November with plans to customize their agenda based on the needs of the group. Their goal is to become another resource of information and support for students on campus.
The effects of a new space
Hannover is already seeing what he had hoped the Center would do for veterans on campus.
“It’s bringing students together talking and connecting with each other. That’s one of the biggest things that veterans have an issue with.” Hannover said. “They’re not around the people that they’ve been around for the past four to 20 years of their life. And they all have the same mentality. So it’s good to see people connect and create a support system for each other.”
Sattler is hoping that this new Center will encourage other students to speak up about their own experiences on campus as well.
“If students see that we listen as an institution and that we care about the things that are working and the things that aren’t, and that we’re willing to make improvements based on that feedback, I think that goes a long way,” Sattler said.
Dunwoody celebrates Veterans Day
Dunwoody will be celebrating Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 11, with a flag raising ceremony at 10:45 a.m. followed by a presentation featuring Lorne Brunner at 11:30 a.m. in the McNamara Center.
Brunner served in the U.S Navy for 20 years. His military career encompassed six tours of duty in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Japan, and the Bering Sea. He was a chief petty officer and cryptologist assigned TAD with two SEAL teams. He will share his journey from leaving a Navy career after significant combat injuries and rehabilitation, to a successful occupation as a licensed private investigator and certified forensic fire and explosion expert.
Renowned adventurer Will Steger to play key role in the design process.
Architecture Instructor Molly Reichert had quite a surprise for third year Architecture students this fall semester: a chance to work with prominent wilderness adventurer and conservationist Will Steger.
Students were asked to help design and build a brand new dining hall for the Steger Wilderness Center, an earth-friendly building devoted to sustainability education and climate change solution. The dining hall, the latest step in the completion of the Center, will serve as a gathering place where center guests can eat, read, study, socialize, and meet. The dining space will be solar-powered and feature a full kitchen and rotating chefs.
Week-long studio prepares students for project
Students began the semester-long project earlier this year by spending a week up in Ely, MN, home of the Center. Completely “off the grid”, students spent their time touring the space, meeting with Will and Center staff, and fleshing out design ideas for the project.
The Dunwoody group even camped out on the site where the dining hall will be built to gain a better understanding of how the land worked in relation to the rest of the Center.
At the end of the studio, Reichert said it became very clear to her that the students were not only impressed with the space, but also with their client.
“It was very interesting and eye-opening for students to see the capacity that Will—just one person—has,” Reichert said. “From going on arctic expeditions, to designing buildings, building buildings, working on policy work and educating—I think they were all very inspired by him.”
“Many of the students described the experience as broadening, which I think is such a beautiful way to think about something.”
Final building designs to be presented in December
Since the studio, students have primarily been working on documentation, including gathering information on Will’s vision, zoning constraints, building codes for the area, kitchen requirements, etc. But now, Reichert said, they are ready enter the schematic design portion of the project.
“It was quite funny because everyone was so inspired and interested in Will and this project that it was hard keeping everyone at bay and to not get into design and to just focus on research and documentation. So, I think everyone is really chomping at the bit to just dig in. They can’t wait to get started.”
Reichert explained that students will have to learn how to design to the constraints and mission of the Center. This means taking into account the harsh winters and freezing temperatures of northern MN. The design of the building must also reflect the local ecosystem and speak to the other structures that are part of the Steger Wilderness Center. The entire design process is expected to take several weeks.
At the end of the semester, students will present their final designs to Will, who will then choose several designs, or portions of those designs, to move forward with. The final building design will be dependent on funding and community support.
The hope is to break ground as early as 2018.
This is the first design studio in the 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree at Dunwoody. The course aims to introduce students to the importance of site and precedent in relationship to architecture.
Middle-school girls explore STEM programs, professions with Dunwoody instructors.
Rosie’s Girls— a summer day-camp inspired by a program started by Vermont Works for Women and Girl Scout camp programming—launched its first-ever Minnesota camp at Dunwoody College late last month. The camp was held in partnership with Girl Scouts River Valleys.
More than 40 middle-school girls attended, building their awareness of—and their experience with—STEM-related higher education programs and careers. The camp comes at a time when skilled trade jobs, especially those within the construction industry, are in need of more women workers.
Building trades need more women workers
“Our demographic is nine percent women and 91 percent men, so we need to make that change,” said Heather Gay, Construction Management Program Manager, in a recent Kare 11 interview.
Electrical Construction & Maintenance Principal Instructor Polly Friendshuh attributes those low numbers to a lack of exposure of STEM programs and careers to young students—especially women.
“By high school, most students have already chosen or have some idea of the direction they are going upon graduation—and most of those students never have any exposure to the construction trades,” she said.
“This camp provides that before they have a pre-conceived idea of what they want to go into and perhaps will spark the idea that there are many pathways available to them.”
Girls learn to build, weld, and wire at Rosie’s Girls
During the camp, the girls were able to participate in a wide array of hands-on, STEM-related projects, including building Little Free Libraries; welding sculptures; and wiring a switch, light and receptacle. For two weeks, campers were able to accurately see what a career in carpentry, welding, electrical wiring, drafting and design, or surveying could be like.
“It’s important for young girls to get exposed to the trades and skills early on so that they know it’s a career path,” Gay said in a KARE 11 interview.
Rosie’s Girls sparks confidence
When girls weren’t exploring Dunwoody labs and equipment, they were participating in other physical activities like rock climbing, archery, and team building games. Campers also worked on their leadership skills, participated in arts activities, and learned how to successfully work and communicate as a group.
Girl Scouts River Valleys’ staff noted that “by offering girls a chance to ‘do things’—particularly things they or the adults in their lives may not have believed were appropriate for girls to do—the Rosie’s Girls Program seeks to reverse the downward trajectory in girls’ self confidence.”
Friendshuh, who led a number of camp activities, said that not surprisingly not every girl identified with every activity and career—but it was an incredible feeling seeing those who did connect with an activity succeed and have fun.
“The trades can provide a career option that not only pays well but can be obtained without a four-year degree. I hope the camp helped them to gain a better idea of what a technical college is and what it can mean for them as they move on into high school and beyond.”
And while college plans and the girl’s professional lives might still be a ways off, Friendshuh said above all, she hoped the camp gave the girls “a sense of accomplishment, empowerment, and the realization that they can be anything they want.”
Student clubs and organizations provide undergrads with unique volunteer and professional development opportunities.
One of the many perks of a Dunwoody education is the abundance of professional clubs and student organizations on campus. With over 20 to choose from, these clubs are more than just extra-curriculars. They serve as valuable ways for students to meet industry professionals, participate in community outreach, and build their résumés and portfolios.
The libraries resemble small houses and operate as a free book exchange for anyone interested. Once constructed, the student-built libraries would be put on display—and to work—in the towns of Oakdale (near Cardinal Place neighborhood), Apple Valley (near the Government Center and the city library and park) and Anoka (near Walker Methodist senior living community).
“The goal is to encourage reading at home as studies have shown that having more books at home improves literacy levels and school-readiness among children,” said Heather Griffis, BATC Office Manager and project coordinator.
“BATC’s relationship with Dunwoody and the Construction department at Dunwoody has always been good. It’s important to us to work with our members. We thought this was a good opportunity for the students at Dunwoody to do something fun while working on their degree.”
NAHB members and project volunteers John Jeske, John Bautch and Bradley Toenges agreed, jumping right in to the project.
Student activities promote professional development
Hassenfritz said that throughout the project Jeske, Bautch, and Toenges were able to enhance their building and project management skills.
“We were provided with two designs for the libraries and then were able to design the third one ourselves,” Hassenfritz explained. “Students had to learn to read and understand the build plans so that they could cut and assemble the houses.”
The students were also able expand their knowledge of a variety of different hand and power tools.
“Participating in the student chapter of the NAHB has a lot of benefits for students,” Hassenfritz said. “Through the club they have access to networking events, trade shows and many other experiences that other students don’t.”
“This gives them the opportunity to meet and talk with people in the residential construction field. These connections they make can open up opportunities for internships and full-time employment,” he said.
The libraries are currently in their final building stages. Upon completion, the finished houses will be sent back to the BATC for painting and decorating. The finished products are expected to be installed by the end of the summer.
On Saturday, May 21, Dunwoody gave out three Outstanding Engineering & Design Awards at the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) Robotics Championship at Mariucci Arena. Dunwoody Engineering Drafting & Design Adjunct Instructor Al Jaedike judged each of the state’s top 30 FIRST Robotics teams competing in the tournament and made selections based on unique engineering design solutions to robotic challenges.
The award acknowledges that while winning the tournament is a major achievement, innovation can come from creative thinking, experimentation, failure and budgetary and/or engineering constraints. Each of the winning teams took home a trophy and a check for $500.
Congratulations to the following high school FIRST robotics teams for earning the Outstanding Engineering & Design Award:
• Team 4009 Duluth-Denfield
• Team 4539 Frazee-Vergas
• Team 5172 Greenbush-Middle River
Dunwoody has been a friend and sponsor of the Minnesota State High School League’s FIRST Robotics competition for several years. This is the second year that Dunwoody has given out the Outstanding Engineering & Design Awards.