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Global Architecture Brigades

October 08, 2014

This past summer, a team of twelve Drexel students and two faculty members traveled to El Ojochal, Honduras to work alongside a family in the construction of their home. Organized by Westphal College Interior Design undergraduate student Danielle Sullivan, the Architecture Brigade service trip was in partnership with Global Brigades, the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Global Brigades teams up with villages to help families who want to improve their living conditions, and mobilizes thousands of university students and professionals through collaborative skill-based programs.

The Drexel Architecture Brigade spent a week with the Cabrera-Castellon family, finishing the kitchen in the family’s home and building a new home for one son and his family. Using simple tools, handmade ladders and scaffolding, the team built walls for the home, which consisted of mixing cement, laying concrete blocks and setting up rebar enforcement. In addition to project construction, their days were filled with team bonding and time spent with the surrounding community.

“Leading this trip was a privilege and an amazing experience,” said Brigade President Danielle Sullivan, noting that the team fundraised donations for the trip through social media  “The trip taught me more lessons about life than I could have anticipated,” said undergraduate Electrical Engineering student Brian Fisher, who will lead next year’s trip with undergraduate Architecture student Kathy Urbaniak. “The community had a sense of hope which stemmed from the clean water project, sanitation projects, and public health projects that have changed the community over the last few years. I feel privileged that our team got to play a role in helping others,” Fisher said. 

Global Brigades seeks to improve the quality of life in under-resourced regions while respecting local culture. Brigade teams include Medical, Water, Public Health, Business, Human Rights and Architecture.

Global Brigades makes it easy for people to start new teams. Currently Drexel is in need of Human Rights and Dental Brigades, and anyone at the University is welcome to start one if they have the desire. To find out more, contact Kira Sy at

The next Drexel Architecture Brigade trip will take place in 2015. For more information, or if you are a student interested in joining the trip, please contact Kathy Urbaniak at or Brian Fisher at