Architecture and the Liberal Arts: A Whole-School Approach to Community Engagement
In 2015 Drury University students competed in the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. Students designed a home to respond to, recover from, and resist a tornado. In 2011 an EF-5 tornado hit Joplin, MO, and left 161 people dead and the town devastated. Design-Build for communities in need has been a continuing interest for Drury students. The Solar Decathlon provided a vehicle for student interest and development of Drury’s unique whole-school approach to Design-Build. The team included more than 100 students from 22 majors in such diverse backgrounds as art history, physics, music, communications, and architecture. The project is an excellent example of an interdisciplinary approach to a compelling community issue and the benefits of integrating liberal arts, arts, professional studies, and civic engagement for student success.