Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pi Kap's Push America Gains Applause at WSU

WSU Fraternity lends helping hand
Several students helped build a wheelchair ramp at a woman’s home in Moscow

As one Moscow woman came out of her house and rolled down a newly constructed wheelchair ramp Saturday, nearly 40 students clapped and cheered.

Barulaganye Boyd, 18, uses a wheelchair because of a developmental delay, and she has difficulty getting in and out of the house, sophomore communication major Max Maier said. At least until now.

Members of Pi Kappa Phi created the ramp for her in participation with the fraternity’s national philanthropy, Push America.

“Push America aims to build the leaders of tomorrow by helping people with disabilities today,” said Maier, the Push America officer for WSU’s chapter of Pi Kappa Phi.

Maier said his fraternity has embraced various Push America events, including national cycling events, but this is the first time it has taken part in a construction project by building a wheelchair ramp for a local family.

Through this program, Push America pays for the materials of the ramp,and the men of the fraternity find the family and do the construction.

Maier said they had help with design and construction of the ramp from the Associated Students of Construction Management Club.

The ASCM club designed the about 25-foot-long ramp, and then members of both groups came together on Saturday to construct it.

“We made sure that we were meeting all of the American Disability Act requirements,” said Jason Bailey, ASCM president-elect and junior construction management major.

In addition to the help the fraternity was able to give the family, Bailey said the hands-on experience of the project was incredibly beneficial to the five construction management students who helped

with the project.

“We didn’t have to pay, but we got to show what we can do,” he said.

The project took all day but ran without problems, Maier said.

“We came down to the wire with the materials,” he said. “We measured just right. There were not many errors. The weather was perfect, and the family was watching.”

Maier said Boyd kept a watchful gaze over the process from the window of the family’s home.

To find a family that deserved the ramp, Maier said that the fraternity got in contact with different groups in the area that serve people with disabilities. They discovered the Boyd family through Opportunities Unlimited in Moscow.

Maier said he hopes the event will become an annual tradition.

The day itself had a leisurely feel, with a barbecue and music playing, but there was also a serious message participants took away from the event, Maier said.

“We got to do something great and make a difference in the world,” he said. “It changed their lives, but it changed our lives too. It definitely ended the year on a high note.”

© 2009 WSU Student Publications Board