Project Report: Virginia Tech Students Complete Service Learning Project

Students in the Agricultural Technology program at Virginia Tech University recently completed a project using Eagle Bay pavers for one of their classes. Led by Senior Instructor Tom Martin, the class focuses on the principles of landscape architecture while benefiting an organization or homeowner in need. This project was completed at a private residence and involved installing a patio and walkway for a single mother with a son with a disability.

“Our projects are always installed for an at-need client. We specifically avoid taking business from local installers. Since the program is focused on experiential learning, doing it this way gives us the opportunity to advance the university’s mission while interacting with the community,” explains Martin.

The class project starts during the fall semester. The students first meet the client and conduct a site analysis. “The class spends a lot of time in the field. We visit the site several times to discover the client’s needs and explore the area,” says Martin.

From there, the students plan projects and present them to Martin and, ultimately, their client. “After the students present their projects to our client, I sit down with them and walk them through the different aspects of each project and help them make their final decision,” says Martin.

Once the client accepts a project, Martin works with local businesses to procure the materials. Eagle Bay was happy to donate the necessary pavers to complete the project and Ken Tucker of Chandler Concrete provided logistical support. Some of the Eagle Bay team, including Director of Sales Greg Kirkman and Hardscape Sales Specialist Ed Link, also volunteered their time to meet with the class and help install the project during the spring semester.

“The support we get from the community is amazing. This project was especially difficult because every install day scheduled with the students was rained out. A few of them participated in the additional install days, but a good deal of the work was completed by myself, Greg Kirkman, and Ken Tucker. I shudder to think how long this would have taken without the help of Greg and Ken,” says Martin.

The Agricultural Technology program at Virginia Tech completes a new pro bono project every school year, this project being the 12th completed by Martin.

“It’s exciting to see the next generation of landscape professionals learning how to complete projects using Eagle Bay pavers. I’m glad we’re able to be involved with the Agricultural Technology program at Virginia Tech and help impart some knowledge to the students,” says Kirkman.