In the summer of 2008, a group of architecture students created Freedom By Design, a community service branch of the American Institute of Architecture Students.
According to its website, Freedom By Design hopes to improve “the safety, comfort and dignity of the home’s occupants.” To date, the organization has completed one project – a wheelchair ramp for disabled U.S. Navy Lt. Thomas Jaskel. Jaskel suffered brain damage due to a drunk-driving accident in July 2009.
The organization is currently working on constructing a new wheelchair ramp for 21-year-old Joey Bodick, a Churchville, Pa., resident with cerebral palsy.
Co-captains of the organization, seniors Temi Fasusi and Danielle Fontana, are dedicated to keeping their team organized and on track with the projects.
“Our team is really a shared effort, and although there are defined roles within our team, it’s not uncommon to find the treasurer helping develop construction drawings, or a project manager staffing a bake sale,” Fontana said.
“Once we have finished construction on this ramp, we are going to take some time to get our funds back in order so that when we do another project, we do not have to worry about whether we have enough money to get it done or not,” Fasusi added.
The faculty adviser of FBD is Rashida Ng, an assistant professor of architecture.
“I have met with the students to review the designs and code requirements prior to permitting,” Ng said. “But the students do all of the hard work.”
“As for what’s on the horizon for Freedom by Design,” Fontana said, “we are just working every weekend on completing Joey Bodick’s ramp.”
Maura Lieberman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.