Ten engineers from Oregon State University, including myself, went to San Jose, Costa Rica to volunteer in a construction and renovation program through International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ). The project our group worked on was to turn an old parking lot into a children’s playground for a local church. While there, we cleared out the lot, leveled the ground, mixed and set concrete over the area, and painted a mural with the neighborhood children.
Much of my time on this trip was spent which shovel in hand, mixing batch after batch of concrete in the street, and I loved every minute of it. After taking civil engineering classes for four years, I thought I knew much of how concrete works. However, being a part of the process of making the concrete and practicing methods that I have not learned about in school really made me appreciate the difference in the way people do things. Although the concrete got mixed much slower than it would have in the United States, it was nice to see that we were able to make it just based off our own manpower, no electricity or outside energy necessary. I felt like I was making a difference for this church and neighborhood, and at the end of the week I was wishing I had more time to give. I would love to go on another volunteer trip soon, and appreciate the Student Sustainability Initiative for helping me with this experience.
– Amy Kordosky