Building Olin - 5/2/14

By Jenn Anderson '16


Build Day.  A new school, an even newer concept.  First attempted last May,  the idea behind Build Day is to have one day of awesome projects that will change something pretty big about Olin, and, more importantly, will build new and stronger relationships between students, faculty, and staff.  The entire community works together on these projects, which range from learning how to bake, to planting gardens and blueberries, to designing really cool artwork for the AC stairwells.



Morning Baking2.png

Early morning baking in East Hall kitchen!


After the Inaugural Build Day a year ago, many agreed there was room for improvement regarding the day's execution.  This year however, the design team really came together and made it fantastic. They spent many hours of meetings, organizing, finding projects and champions and documenting the day's events with a map, booklets and a website.  There were so many opportunities for people to participate in the improvement of the college, in any way they felt like. You could spend the entire day outside planting or cleaning up Parcel B,  playing Frolf (Frisbee Golf), or you could help inside, writing postcards to alumni, thinking up new ideas for curriculum, or learning about Olin's history.



Support Staff Photos.jpg First Year Ellie Funkhouser works with other students to create portraits introducing different members of the Olin support staff to the rest of the community. 


In my opinion, Build Day gives each one of us the opportunity to really change something about Olin.  Then when you come back next year, or visit after you graduate, there is something about the school which you can point to and say "I helped with that."


This Build Day, I worked on several things. First of all, I assisted in writing postcards to alumni. This activity is particularly important because it not only helps keep alumni up-to-date on the state of Olin, but also fosters a connection between the classes that have graduated and the students that are still here.


 Alumni Letters.jpg

Students write a personal note to 577 alumni on special Build Day Postcards. 



However, I spent the majority of my morning revamping the Light Garden. This garden, located in the area between the dorms, was originally created last Build Day, but due to a rough winter (and a few other problems) it was mostly destroyed by the time this spring rolled around. During Build Day, we expanded the garden to plant many different kinds of flowers, put in a patch for Oliners to plant their own things, and added a hammock, some benches, and a patio. I have to say, it looks quite lovely.  That has been one of the only things I was sad about at Olin: I didn't have anywhere to plant flowers.   So we did something about it!


Garden 1.jpg

 In the afternoon, I assisted in ideating about how to improve Lounge culture in the dorms, and also got to spend a nice day outside with lots of cool people.

light garden.jpg


 lunch tables.jpg

Students, faculty and staff sat around tables outside, sharing lunch or stories about non-Olin related things - their lives, memories, and philosophies. 



Overall, I think Build Day is an excellent idea, and I hope it continues in the future.   It's a great way for us to positively impact Olin, giving back to a place that has had such a major impact on each of us. 

Check out specific projects, follow on Facebook, and keep up with Build Day here.  Can't wait for Build Day '15!

You can also see pictures on twitter @buildolin or on facebook /olinbuildday (and the closing ceremony video here and here)


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