WTAMU students learn engineering by volunteering

      A group of West Texas A&M University Engineering students are getting their basic speech class taught to them in a very non-traditional way.

      Each student in the class is required to do a certain amount of community service with an area organization.

      The engineering students in the class will be cleaning out the Salvation Army Thrift Store through Saturday.

      "They're looking at all the processes of how things are brought in, how things are sorted, what makes them good, what do we think can be improved," said WT Engineering and Computer Sciences Outreach Coordinator, Rhonda Dittfurth.

      Then, the class will report to the Salvation Army Thrift Store to offer their ideas.

      "This is actually a form of engineering called process engineering but its also a type of engineering that every engineer does, because if you're going to make something better, you have to understand how it works to start with."

      It's a process that teach them not only great lessons for the class, but some cool life lessons for their future.

      "It helps enforce the importance of community service, so even when I'm in the future and I'm busy in an engineering career field, I can still go out there and help my community and not just stay to myself and it helps me learn how to be a better engineer in the future," said WT Freshman Mechanical Engineering Major, Ryan Jackson.

      That is exactly what Dittfurth wants the students to take away from the experience.

      "We're understanding so much need from this trip to the salvation army so much good that this thrift store does with their funding and I want my students to be aware of that, because as engineers they stand to have very very good salaries upon graduation and I want them to remember this and remember what they can do for others."

      The students will present their persuasive speeches as a group, and the class will select the best group speech.

      Jackson said when he first heard about the service work that he was a little skeptical, because he didn't see how it was related to engineering, but since they've started he now understands how it applies in a different way.