Ten Days at Tuck

Arpitha D. T'15, September 11, 2013 | 1 comment
Tags: Research Centers & Initiatives, community, orientation week, first year

It’s been 10 days since I landed in Hanover, NH. Time is flying by, and I am definitely feeling overwhelmed already. But we are told this our (relatively) free time – Orientation week. Come Fall-A, it’s going to be crazy, and everyone in the school is preparing us mentally by dropping regular hints. Anyway, in this post I am going to discuss my Tuck Builds experience. It is a pre-orientation program that I attended from Aug 18th – 22nd.

Why I chose Tuck Builds?
- It's organized by Center for Business & Society, which I am interested in
- To meet and befriend fellow students with similar interests

We were 24 students, divided into 3 groups of 8 each – Habitat for Humanity, COVER and Upper Valley Trails. I was part of Habitat. Habitat is a community driven organization that involves home building activities for selected families, chosen on certain criteria. Our projects involved 2 homes:

1) Rehabilitation of a previously built house for a single mom, recommend by Wounded Warrior project
2) Deep weatherization and roofing of a 30 year old building, sold during a Foreclosure

Experience & Learnings:
Don Derrick, T’78, current Executive Director of Upper Valley Habitat, worked along with us throughout the 4 days. He and Jim (another volunteer) helped the eight of us learn many new skills – landscaping, carpentry, wood work, insulation, roofing etc. While the learning was cool, I must say it was no easy job. Each day involved intense physical labor and I developed a deep appreciation for these jobs.

Everyone in our group was quite supportive and motivated to finish the work we had taken up. It was as if we had transported ourselves into the bodies of masons and carpenters. While sharing work and sweating together, we got to talk to each other and learn more. During the course of 5 days, we:

- Had dinners at three professors’ houses – Prof. Vogel, Prof. Stocken and Prof. Hansen. Each professor was unique and everyone had an endearing style. How cool is it to have a BBQ dinner party at a lake side guest house, even before classes started? Very!
- 2 Tuck alums were invited as guest speakers – Jay Bartlett, T’96 (Partner, The Parthenon Group) and Jeffrey Halpren, T’95 (Director, Credit Sussie Corporation). Both shared interesting stories about ethics in business, how business is intertwined with society and their involvement in Center for Business and Society.
- Dana, Sanjay, Alex and Tia (T’14s) as well as Hanna (TP’14), who organized this program did an awesome job in every respect.

There was an opportunity to learn from everyone and they were all willing to help in any way possible. Some nuggets of wisdom we received:
- Network more with T’14s  (Prof. Stocken)
- Learn to ask tough questions (Mr. Halpren, T’95)
- Prioritize and keep at least an hour personal time every day (Sanjay T’14)
- Play tripod hockey, even if you don’t skate :) (Dana T’14)

I didn't’t know we would have these opportunities when I applied for Tuck Builds, and I was pleasantly surprised and happy. Prospective Tuckies – go for it!

Thanks for sharing such a positive experience.

By Deepak Joshi on 2013 09 22

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