University of Tennessee Students Help Build Smokey’s Doghouse


September 23, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn (RFD-TV) University of Tennessee construction science students use their skills to benefit a worthy organization. Charles Denney reports on how this charitable effort will also benefit the students themselves.

“Each nail, each board, and Smokey’s Doghouse rises – a playhouse that will be donated for a good cause. These construction science students at UT’s Institute of Agriculture are building this structure for Holston Habitat for Humanity in the tri-cities.”

Ethan Greer says they’re working to benefit a charity and they learn new skills. “We’re getting a lot of hands-on experience, learning how to build rafters, walls, putting doors up together, and different things like that.”

Denny says, “The metaphor isn’t lost here – students building playhouses for an organization where volunteers build real houses for deserving families.”

Trish Patterson explains, “We build between eight and 14 houses in our service area annually. We also give back a tithe to Habitat For Humanity International, and build an equal number of houses internationally.”

The habitat battle also highlights UT’s Construction Science – around for just a few years, and already the fastest-growing academic program in the UT system.

Dr. Charlie Parker, Sr. Lecturer & Director of Biosystems, Engineering and Soil Science at the University of Tennessee says, “We’ve been placing 100 percent of our students. We have graduated around 30 so far. We have eight coming out this spring, and next fall we’re going to have about eighteen.”

After a month of work, it’s time for the big reveal.

Smokey’s Doghouse is eight by five, with a front porch, arched doorway and features just a touch of school color. It will soon belong to someone who purchased a lucky raffle ticket.

Denny concludes, “In the meantime, students can take pride in their finished product, knowing it was both a learning opportunity and chance to help someone – a classroom assignment that’s something to build on.”

The playhouse went on a tour of venues between Knoxville, Blacksburg, and Virginia throughout July and August.

People were able to view it, and then purchase a raffle ticket online with proceeds from the raffle going towards Habitat For Humanity.