Access Your Life, the LSU Interior Design Student Organization (IDSO) fall service project, will take place Saturday, September 28, at the House of Destiny, a transitional home for homeless women with cognitive and physical impairments.
The fall service project is sponsored by the LSU School of Interior Design, the Baton Rouge chapter of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA-BR), the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance (MCRA), Knoll, Inc., and local business Letterman’s.
“The Baton Rouge chapter of IFMA is happy to support the educational endeavors of LSU. We are excited to be a part of a project that benefits our community, furthers our goal of professionalism in our membership, and helps to train future design professionals,” said DeLisa Arnold of IFMA, Baton Rouge.
The project has been in development since the fall of 2012, when Marsha Cuddeback, currently the Ruth Z. McCoy Professor of Interior Design at LSU, submitted a proposal for IFMA-BR’s local charity project. Cuddeback’s proposal, “Access Your Life,” was selected to receive funding from the Baton Rouge chapter of IFMA, with Mid City Redevelopment Alliance as the community partner.
The original focus of the project was “aging in place,” and the idea was for interior design students to conduct home evaluations and complete modifications to improve the quality of life for older adults in Mid City neighborhoods and to strengthen the LSU School of Interior Design’s community outreach efforts.
The project was adapted to include the special needs housing when Mid City Redevelopment Alliance identified the project location: the House of Destiny, a group home operated by Metamorphosis in New Orleans.
“This project provides an opportunity for students to learn about critical issues such as accessibility, daily living, a healthy environment, security, and personal space for special needs housing and the impact of interior design services on creating quality environments,” said Cuddeback.
The project was introduced to sophomore interior design students in Tracy Burns’s spring 2013 course, ID 2755: Interior Materials, Finishes, and Furnishings. Burns is a professional in residence at LSU, a principal of an interior design firm, Commercial Design Interiors, and a member of IFMA, Baton Rouge.
Students of Burns, Cuddeback, and Associate Professor T.L. Ritchie began conducting home safety workshops and on-site evaluations for safety and comfort at the House of Destiny. During the fall 2012 semester, Carolyn Rubion, a licensed occupational therapist with PACE Baton Rouge (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), facilitated a home safety workshop with Burns’s sophomores to help them understand the special needs of the elderly and disabled.
Following the workshop, students developed a survey instrument and conducted an analysis of the House of Destiny. After analyzing the survey results, students made a priority list of modifications, which included home modifications such as adjusting counter heights, improving accessibility, and enhancing security.
The first phase of home modifications took place in June 2013. IDSO leaders Madeline Rappold, Jordin Bandi, Gabriella Mujica, and Kristen Schroeder, and sophomore interior design students made minor improvements and installations at the House of Destiny.
“The best part about it was, of course, the end, when we got to show the ladies what we did, and we saw their faces light up and how happy it made them. I think we should be doing more of this type of thing in the future, not only for IDSO but with the whole department. Working with the community and doing service work should be a bigger focus for the interior design department, because it helps other people, gives students valuable experience, and makes everyone feel good all around,” said Kristen Schroeder, IDSO treasurer and a senior interior design student at LSU.
After completing the first phase of improvements, the students realized that much more needed to be done, and IDSO selected the project for IDSO’s annual fall service project.
On Saturday, September 28, four work groups comprised of LSU School of Interior Design students, IDSO members, faculty, and IFMA representatives will complete the list of improvements at the House of Destiny.
The work groups will remove and replace the carpet in one of the bedrooms; remove and replace the shower and lavatory fixtures in the bathroom with ADA-compliant fixtures; install fan and light pulls, door alarms, and lower kitchen cabinet hardware; and remove the wall paper and paint another of the bathrooms.
“I had a great time working at the House of Destiny and am excited to go back,” said Schroeder.
The improvements at the House of Destiny are just the first step of a long-range plan, said Cuddeback. Steps are already in place to integrate community outreach programs into the junior interior design studios.
Cuddeback aims to retain a relationship with the Baton Rouge chapter of IFMA and Mid City Redevelopment Alliance and to identify elderly residents who own homes in Mid City and have special needs for improvement but lack the funding to hire professional services.
“Access Your Life has been a terrific project. We’ve had a lot of participation and interest, and it has created momentum within the community and among the students,” said Cuddeback.
About International Facility Management Association
International Facility Management Association, or IFMA, is the largest and most widely recognized professional association for facility management, supporting approximately 17,300 members. The association’s members are represented in 126 chapters, 16 councils, and one special interest group (SIG) in 54 countries worldwide. Globally, IFMA certifies facility managers, conducts research, provides educational programs, recognizes facility management degree and certificate programs, and produces World Workplace, the largest facility management–related conference and exposition. Currently, the Baton Rouge chapter of IFMA has nine Sustainable Facility Professional credentialed professional members, more than any other IFMA chapter in the United States. For more information, visit ifmabatonrouge.wildapricot.org.
About LSU School of Interior Design
The LSU School of Interior Design program emphasizes creative problem solving, research and analysis, and graphic skills. Student activities are supported in the design studios, which form the core of the educational experience. Liberal arts, business, communication, and technical courses are required and complement the program’s strong emphasis on design. For more information, visit interiordesign.lsu.edu.
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