Piles of wood, screws and soon-to-be clubhouse pieces lay outside the steps of Mabee last week for Cru Playhouses. The noise of power tools and laughter echoed through the quad as students came together to assemble scattered playhouse pieces.
While the event gives Crusaders a week of an exciting, hands-on volunteer project, the houses built will represent years of memories for a child.
“(Students) have the ability to build community within the different groups and have an amazing service opportunity,” assistant director of campus activities Jeff Sutton said.
Cru Playhouses is a Student Life event that started five years ago to build playhouses for children of military families in Bell County.
Since then, they have stayed connected with the university as the tradition continues. Various campus organizations do their part by sponsoring a playhouse. Participants are responsible for purchasing, building and delivering each house. This year, the project had 14 different university groups take on the project.
Junior math major Lacy Hill came out to aid the resident assistants who sponsored a clubhouse, but stayed a little longer to help build additional houses.
“I wanted to do it because I love little kids, and I think about how this is going to be some kid’s playhouse,” Hill said. “If anything was slightly off, I was like ‘No, we can’t mess this up. We need to make it perfect for them.’”
Although Hill wasn’t able to help deliver houses at Saturday’s Reaching Out, she enjoyed the time she could spend building a memory for a child.
The weeklong event wasn’t limited to the 14 groups that purchased a playhouse. Many students like sophomore exercise sport science major Taylor White, came on their own time throughout the week to help with the construction.
“It’s really nice because not many military families have the opportunity to go out and buy a playhouse for their kids,” White said. “It’s good fellowship, and it’s all for a good cause.”
Volunteers of Cru Playhouses didn’t let last week’s poor weather conditions stand in the way of building their masterpieces.
Warm weather brought pristine conditions for Monday and Tuesday’s construction, but with Wednesday’s rain, the event was forced to move inside of Shelton Theater. Event leaders wouldn’t let the midweek showers put a damper on their plans.
Sutton said their goal was to complete six playhouses that day, and the results were promising.
“We are still going,” he said during Wednesday’s pour.
Cru Playhouses were able to finish building outside the remainder of the week. While the construction process was hectic at times, Sutton enjoyed getting to see students give back to the community.
He said, “It’s not too often that students get to build a playhouse and kind of play a little bit themselves, so it’s a service opportunity that’s a lot of fun for them as well.”