Students Create Santa’s Workshop to Bring Holiday Cheer

Monday, December 10, 2018
Two smiling female students assembling a bicycle

Approximately 200 students took time to assemble, inspect and sort 415 bicycles and tricycles Dec. 8 for Wabash Valley children in the campus’ largest community service project.

Santa’s helpers had a streamlined workflow this year as Rose-Hulman students implemented an improved assembly process for the campus’ largest annual community service project on Dec. 8. Over the course of two hours, approximately 200 students assembled, inspected and sorted 415 new bicycles and tricycles for distribution to selected families by Terre Haute’s Chances and Services for Youth organization.

“This year’s assembly day seemed to be smoother and better organized,” says Ally McLaughlin, a senior mechanical engineering student who was participating in the event for the second straight year.

Groups of students examined the bicycle assembly process this fall and last spring while learning lean manufacturing principles in a course taught by Jay McCormack, associate professor of mechanical engineering. Many of the students’ recommendations were incorporated into streamlining the 45 assembly stations scattered throughout the Facilities Operations Center on campus.

Also, students in a technical communications course have written assembly instruction manuals to assist first-time assembly volunteers. And, Human Powered Vehicle team members and other students used their knowledge of bicycle mechanics to inspect the braking system in each bicycle before distribution.

This was the 20th consecutive year that members of Rose-Hulman’s fraternity and sorority organizations, athletic teams, residence life staff and other student groups have come together to build bikes for area kids. After inspection, the bicycles are sorted for distribution.

“You get in a groove after building the first bike, with each group member settling into their assigned task in the assembly process,” says senior computer science and software engineering student Kiana Caston. “After a while, as team members are finishing one bike, another is being prepared to start. It becomes a well-run operation.”

Biomedical engineering sophomore Grace Beach was participating for the first time with fellow members of the Chi Omega sorority and varsity volleyball team. “This is enjoyable event. You get to hang out with your friends while doing something good for others. I can only imagine the smiles that will be on the kids’ faces this Christmas.”

“It’s a labor of love to give back to the community,” adds junior Mia Styczynski, volunteering for the second straight year. “As a mechanical engineering student, I like using tools and working in a team to put things together.”