Virginia Tech fraternity member tours the country with Build America

The 2007 Build America team

The 2007 Build America team

BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 13, 2007 – A recent Virginia Tech graduate and brother of the Delta Alpha chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity is traveling the country with Push America's "Build America" construction program.

Build America is a six-week summer project in which members of Pi Kappa Phi visit various communities and camps across the country to construct and improve the accessibility of those areas for people with disabilities.

Andy Brown, a native of Maryville, Tennessee, graduated from Virginia Tech in May with a degree in building construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. Brown is part of a 22-member team that has raised more than $75,000 for Build America--a new record. The team has visited Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Alabama and is currently working at Camp Virginia Jaycee in Blue Ridge, just outside of Roanoke. They departed for Washington, D.C. on August 9, where they worked over the weekend before bringing the journey to a close on August 12. Before arriving in Washington, D.C., the team had logged more than 4,000 hours, saved camps and communities $50,000 in labor costs and more than $30,000 in materials expenses, and impacted the lives of thousands of people with disabilities.

"It’s amazing how guys from 14 different chapters can come together and get so close in just a few weeks," said Brown. "Being able to work so well with people you just met--it's just incredible."

Members of Pi Kappa Phi work year round, providing funds and manpower to help create a barrier-free society for people with disabilities. The team members' day does not stop when the construction stops. They gather with campers for dinner and other camp activities in the evening, and this is the time team members say is most rewarding. This gives them the opportunity for more personal interaction with the campers who will benefit from their hard work, making this a very unique experience for all involved.

Push America was founded in 1977 with the purpose of instilling lifelong service in its members and enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities. It has since grown into a nationwide organization with numerous programs for educating undergraduates, alumni, and communities about the abilities of people with disabilities through activities such as Build America and cycling events that span from coast to coast.