Students to Display Homeless Shelters at ATU

Five teams of high school students will put homeless shelters they constructed on display at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville on Friday, April 7, as part of a symposium concluding the inaugural Students Design for Change program.

The shelters will be available for public viewing from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Chambers Cafeteria parking lot at 204 West O Street in Russellville. In case of rain, the shelters will be located in the W.O. Young Building Ballroom at 207 West O Street.

The finalists include four teams from Arkadelphia High School and one team from Little Rock Central High School. A total of 29 teams submitted project designs during the initial stage of the competition.

Students Design for Change is a challenge that encourages high school students from around Arkansas to explore issues of homelessness and poverty in the state and design and construct a small cabin intended to provide short-term shelter for a person who is homeless. Goals of the initiative include raising awareness of and education about homelessness.

Each of the five finalist teams received up to $1,000 to fund construction of their short-term homeless cabins. Once the symposium is complete, the structures will be distributed to service organizations for use in their efforts to provide people who are homeless with temporary shelter until they can transition to permanent living accommodations.

The project is led by four Arkansas Tech faculty members: Dr. Carl Greco, professor of electrical engineering; Dr. Julie Mikles-Schluterman, associate professor of sociology; Megan Toland, assistant professor of journalism; and Dr. Jessica Young, assistant professor of physics.

Arkansas Tech students Taylor Bleakley of Russellville, Sarah Bubniak of Farmington and Cody Butler of England are assisting in the administration of the program.

Students Design for Change is made possible through an interdisciplinary grant from Arkansas Tech and a community grant from the Walmart Foundation.