Building on success - Construction Student Association works to win competitions and help in the community
Julie Cooper | December 6, 2018
Before they were Texas State Engineering Technology students, both Lauren Odle and Sam Haynie were poised to pursue other majors. Now, the two officers of the Construction Student Association (CSA) are looking ahead to a summer internship in California (hers), and a fulltime job (his) with JE Dunn Construction.
CSA, which is 10 years old, is the umbrella organization over the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), and Associated General Contractors (AGC). In addition to industry networking and competing in engineering competitions that span days or even semesters, CSA members renovate homes and businesses and build ramps for San Marcos residents with disabilities. Odle is the CSA president and Haynie is the outgoing vice president. Dr. Vivek Sharma is the faculty advisor.
There are 533 students, including 43 women, currently enrolled in Construction Science and Management, Sharma said. When the CSA was formed in 2008/2009, Texas State had between 120 and 150 students in construction.
The CSA’s big fundraiser each spring is a golf tournament. For 2019 the tournament is at Grey Rock Golf Course in Travis County. Construction industry professional are paired with students, and with any luck the students will finish 18 holes with an internship, says Haynie. The fundraiser helps pay the costs connected to competitions and for projects such as Boko’s Builders. Each spring, members do a major remodel or renovation in the San Marcos area. In 2015 they revived a family home that had been condemned by the city. In 2018, CSA students renovated a single-family home with new floors, walls, ceiling and some roofing. Working with members of the American Society of Interior Decorators and sponsor-donated materials, the team has been known to log more than 1,900 hours on a project house.
Every semester, the CSA builds four wheelchair ramps in connection with the Texas Ramp Project. Odle says what used to take members four days, is now done in four hours. Over the past years the university group has built 38 ramps.
Odle says it was her father, a flooring salesman, who inspired her to pursue her degree. “When I was looking at schools, I was like ‘I kind of like construction. I think it’s really cool, but I’m a girl so I guess I’ll go into interior design,’ ” she said. “But I was in an AutoCAD class and all of the guys were talking about their salaries, what all went into construction management, and all of the different, fun things they get to do.”
After participating in her first Boko’s Builders, Odle changed her major to construction science management.
“These future leaders are an inspiration to me. I have watched many officers over a period of nine years and the common thread is their enthusiasm, motivation, and commitment to make a difference in our program and in our community,” said Sharma. “People with this dedication have a brilliant future ahead in our industry. Lauren is our first women president for CSA. It is a big achievement and testimonial to her strength when only 8 percent of the total population in our program are women.
“Before Sam Haynie worked his way up to CSA’s VP position, he worked as a CSA ambassador for ABC. He single-handedly forged a long-lasting bond with Texas State University and ABC—Central Texas Chapter, and was recently recognized by them during Excellence in Construction Awards night for his contribution.”
Following his fall graduation, Haynie starts his fulltime job with JE Dunn where he will be a project engineer on the renovation at the Alkek Library. Odle will graduate in December 2019.
To learn more about the 2015 Boko's Builders, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J3LkIlk5DQ.