Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Designing for freedom


Architecture students from FAU and Broward College are working free of charge designing ramps and making landscaping additions for handicapped people, most of whom they’ve known less than 24 hours.

These students are heavily involved in the nonprofit organization Freedom by Design, and though they’ve had to overcome some struggles, they still love their job.

“We don’t feel like this is a job for us because we love helping out [handicapped] people with the skills we have as students,” explained Pablo Terraza, a sophomore architecture design student and the elected captain of FBD.

FBD’s primary purpose is to build and design layouts for ramps, obtain work permits, and make other landscaping additions to disabled people’s homes.

Students who plan on obtaining full-time jobs in architecture upon graduation benefit from working with other students in FBD to gain experience.

Projects are funded solely by separate businesses throughout Broward County that make donations.

“We’re grateful to have the help to fund our own projects,” said Terraza. “We’ve been lucky enough to have help from government organizations such as Broward Housing Solutions and the Center for Independent Living.”

Brett Reeve, a sophomore architecture design student, is the co-captain of FBD. He met Terraza through the organization, which he joined because of his love of architecture.

“I just have an incredible interest for architecture,” said Reeve. “They [FBD] had elections, I ran for the position and was lucky enough to be selected.”

Senior architecture student Alex Parsons has been a volunteer for FBD for the past two years. He describes the previous leaders prior to Terraza and Reeve’s involvement as being undedicated and explained one challenge they had with a previous client’s home they tried to work on.

“The past two FBD captains haven’t done a great job with getting people more involved,” said Parsons. “There was one lady we weren’t able to help because we couldn’t get inside her bathroom to take measurements.”

Terraza mentioned one disabled individual in particular who

was very grateful for the help he was receiving from students to improve his home.

“This guy Victor was describing how, for the past year, he’s been crawling into his house from his car,” said Terraza. “He was overwhelmed when he saw people were willing to help out and volunteer their time. He wanted us to come in his home to cook us dinner.”

Not only do students gain experience as architects, but they also face challenges as a team when working on separate projects throughout the city. One particular obstacle they faced was having to re-work their designs for a ramp they were building for a disabled individual, in order to obtain a work permit from the city to start the project.

“Sometimes we have to go back and redraw the ramp and make changes,” said Terraza. “It takes us two to three weeks to get a work permit, which costs us about $150.”

A larger, more complex project is currently in the works for students involved in FBD. Both Reeve and Terraza described it as their biggest project to date.

“We’re working on a pavilion, which is more complicated than building a ramp,” said Terraza.

Reeve added that the octagon-shaped pavilion they’re working on is a joint project with an organization called Tomorrow’s Rainbow, an outreach for children whose families have passed on.

The project will serve children between the ages of 3 and 18, who will be able to interact with one another as well as with animals.

Students who want to become involved in FBD, regardless of their major, can sign up on the third floor of the Fort Lauderdale campus in room 313, where there are sign-up sheets, as well as on the fifth floor by the hallway bulletin board.

They can also contact Pablo Terraza at [email protected].

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