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Faculty, staff and students construct a new start at Habitat build

Oct 11, 2018
The 50th Anniversary Habitat build
The IUPUI 50th Anniversary Habitat for Humanity build at 725 N. Belleview Place is underway. The structure will become the new home of Colesta and Eddie Peppers in December.Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

A home just west of IUPUI’s campus is now bustling with activity as students, staff and faculty have helped build a home from the ground up.

In the last three weeks, walls, a roof, windows and doors have gone up as part of IUPUI’s Habitat for Humanity build in honor of IUPUI’s 50th anniversary.

The build began Sept. 20 and will culminate with a house dedication tentatively set for Dec. 7. Various programs have helped with the build, each taking a day; for example, IUPUI Athletics was on-site Oct. 4, while the School of Education will take a turn Oct. 24.

The Habitat for Humanity build is a part of IUPUI’s 50th-anniversary celebration, reflecting the campus’s commitment to community engagement.

As the new dean of the Herron School of Art and Design, Nan Goggin has to wear many figurative hats: Teaching, fundraising, alumni relations and recruiting are all needed when leading a nationally renowned school of art and design.

Description of the following video:

[Video: Construction on the Habitat for Humanity 50th Anniversary build]

[Various shots of workers doing construction on a new home, with a Habitat for Humanity sign in the foreground reading “Peppers Family Build” with the IUPUI logo]

[Title appears: IUPUI presents]

[Camera focuses on a man talking with the interviewer outside the home]
[Title appears: Robert Horvath, Associate professor, Herron School of Art and Design]

[Video returns to various shots of people doing construction]

[Robert Horvath speaks: It’s really interesting because the students, they are learning about home construction, but they completely understand, you know? Many of the things that they’ve been actually discussing is how we translate it to another field. I think that’s what we’re talking about in the field of fine art is that, the skills that maybe you learn making art, it’s transferable to so many other fields.]

[Noises in the background of a woman exerting effort; the camera focuses on her as she successfully uses a machine to cut through a board and give a loud shout of relief]

[Sounds of power tools become louder; screen fades to black]

[Title appears: IUPUI Fulfilling the promise]

[End of transcript]

On Oct. 5, Goggin was wearing a literal hard hat as part of a crew of 18 Herron staff, faculty and students to continue the IUPUI 50th Anniversary Habitat for Humanity build in the Near West neighborhood, just a short drive from campus. The house on Belleview Place will be the new home of Colesta and Eddie Peppers.

Amid nail guns, nippers, guillotines and other sinister-sounding yet vital building tools, Goggin was satisfied with her school’s turnout and effort on a cloudy morning.

“All of our students can use these tools, which in today’s society is really unique,” said Goggin, who holds degrees in printmaking and had international design teaching credentials before coming to IUPUI. “The Habitat leaders have been impressed with how the students have been doing, and that says a lot about our teachers.”

The Herron crew was supervised by the Tiger Team, longtime Habitat for Humanity volunteers who lead builds around Indianapolis.

Goggin and her Herron team arrived at a construction site that was well underway. The walls, roof and interior work had been initiated. The group of sculptors, metalsmiths and painters focused on cutting trim and siding for the exterior before moving to the interior when rain poured down.

“Making is a skill that America is losing,” Goggin said. “And our team is three-fourths women. They’re not afraid.”

Kianna Chase, a junior sculpture major, affirmed Goggin’s “makers” mantra. The young artist has already been exposed to the several power tools, safety requirements and techniques her school provides. She easily worked with a nipper, sort of high-powered electric scissors, to cut the panels of siding, which were a cement and wood fiber hybrid. A traditional power circular saw would have kicked up an unpleasant amount of concrete dust while ruining its thin saw blade.

“They haven’t made me go on the ladder yet,” Chase said with a laugh. “But it’s all about helping other people, so that makes it great.”

Chase and her fellow students sliced ends of the siding with a guillotine, a powerful blade and press that can precisely cut through with a pull of a lever, much like a heavy-duty paper trimmer.

The original team was to be about a dozen people, but more students wanted to help. All were given hard hats, and they enthusiastically got to work.

Painting associate professor Robert Horvath said his students have worked with saws and other tools in order to build frames to stretch canvas. He’s a proponent for the students to use their hands for more than pushing paintbrushes.

“I think it’s great to volunteer and give back, and we are a skilled crew,” Horvath said. “Our students are creative thinkers and analytical thinkers, but they are also very hands-on. The students are learning about home construction, but they understand. They can translate what they learn in the classroom to so many other fields – from sight measuring to using power tools. Our students totally have these skills.”

Greg Hull, the Valerie Eickmeier Professor in Sculpture, explained that artists must engage and contribute to the community, and volunteering for a Habitat for Humanity build is an excellent avenue to do so.

“We’ve been talking about doing a build for years.” Hull said. “This is putting our money where our mouth is.”

Siding is trimmed.
Students work on the 50th Anniversary Habitat build.
Kianna Chase measures a board.
Placing siding

Photos by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

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