OLC Builds Homes for the CommunityAug 17th, 2015 | By aalasfour | Category: 27-1: Tribal College Communities, Tribal College News
On the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, the Oyate Kici Kaga (Building for the People) program at Oglala Lakota College (OLC) works to strengthen community ties and civic engagement. The program is made possible by a grant from the American Indian College Fund, awarded to OLC for its demonstrated evidence of community involvement.
The Building for the People program has achieved three major goals: First, OLC construction-trades students built three residential buildings and turned these buildings over to the Oglala Sioux Housing Authority; second, OLC construction- trades students remodeled the Porcupine Community Elderly Meals Center; and third, the college created a partnership with the University of Colorado and Thunder Valley to build an energy-efficient straw bale house. The house currently can be seen near Sharps Corner on the Pine Ridge reservation.
College development for the civic engagement program came after the United Nations Commissioner on Housing visited the Pine Ridge reservation in 2011. His report noted the dire need for housing across the reservation. OLC president, Thomas Shortbull, was determined to make the college a part of the solution to help with the reservation’s crucial housing needs. When homes are built, the college turns them over to the Oglala Sioux Housing Authority to serve identified housing needs. This is just one way that OLC gives back to the community and supports the needs and development on the reservation.