Polyhouse has been quite the experience. I knew going into this it would be a lot of work and like every other student in this class I never realized it would be as much work as it really was. Looking back on it all I have learned a lot about projects, teams, and construction. My favorite part of it all now is looking at the news reports that say we remodeled a bathroom for Caleb, got an exterior steel structure, and even had time to throw in a new kitchen! Oh if only they knew! Now that I bring this up I would love to thank the donors that help specifically with that kitchen. It was such a last minute plan that required more attention that I ever expected. Those who donated their time and supplies put up with me having no clue what everything meant and all the pieces involved in just that one area of the house. To the rest of the donors you as well did some incredible things. This is as much your project as it is ours seeing as we could not have done anything without your support.

Overall I loved this experience. Near the end of our build weekend I was exhausted but there was one thing that made it all worth it. The following weekend I was working on my senior project and got a text that read “I am moving into my new kitchen and I LOVE IT!!! Thank you!!”. That reminded me exactly what this was all for. The pain and suffering I complained about for two weeks makes the life of the Todd family that much easier. When explaining it to friends I would say our main goal is to make a better home to facilitate a better lifestyle for Caleb and his family. All of my struggled for that short time means years of an easier life for the family. For that statement alone every little bit of this was worth it!

Thank you team, Liz, donors, and the Todd family for trusting us with your home. I will never forget Ruby’s face when I told her we were going to YouTube how to install a toilet! It is all working and this has truly been a successful last quarter for me at Cal Poly.

Polyhouse is done.  It is over, and to be frank I am glad. I am glad to be done with the 14-hour days with no pay, the putting my life on hold for three weeks, and the endless shoveling and wheel barrowing.  I am glad to be done asking strangers for money and waking up with the sun to be at the worksite bright and early. I am glad my blisters are healing and my sunburn has stopped itching, and that I don’t have to pour dirt out of my shoes at the end of the day.

I will be the first to tell you that I am glad it is over for all the reasons above. However, I am glad it is over for other reasons as well, like the additional storage space in the form of a new garage, and a circular driveway for the Todds to park on every day. Reasons like a patio on which they can entertain, an amazing garden where they can plant, and a huge sandbox to play in. Reasons like a bathroom Caleb’s height, a room for each of the girls that is truly “their very own,” and even more improvements beyond these.

The first reasons pale in comparison to the second when I consider why I am glad that Polyhouse is over. A sore back, aching muscles and sunburn are an inexpensive price to pay to finally be able to stand back and look at what this class and community accomplished.

I can confidently say that this class went above and beyond all of my expectations. The lack of sleep, stress, and nonstop physical labor was all worth it in the end. I feel like I have grown so much as a person. I also hold so much respect for my fellow classmates. The dedication and motivation each person possessed inspired me to continuously push harder throughout the project.

There were many times where obstacles popped up and threw our original schedule off track. This was very distressing and caused a lot of chaos at times. Luck was definitely on our side; whenever something would go wrong, it would be resolved fairly quickly. Through it all, we learned how to effectively deal with problems (no matter how large) and continue towards our goals.

I honestly think we could have not chosen a more deserving family for this project. The looks on their faces when they pulled up to the new driveway is something that I will never forget. Hopefully Caleb’s life is now a little easier with the changes that have been made to the home.

Lastly, the generosity of our donors cannot be overlooked. The amount of trust they had in us was very touching. There were many times where we tested their patience yet they still compromised to make sure all of our goals and deadlines were met. The contractors that stayed on site around the clock also deserve a huge thanks. Without them, there is no way that this project would have been the success that it is. This close-knit community that we live in is something that we all should be proud of and not take for granted. Thanks to everyone for making this project unforgettable!

With the conclusion of the spring quarter and my graduate program in general, Poly House was a long but good experience. I enjoyed watching the satisfaction of the Todd family when they saw the work that had been done to their house. It was a good feeling to see how the house went through different stages and be a part of such a major project that was physically accomplished in such a short amount of time.  Moreover, it was awesome contributing to the local community and watching contractors and volunteers coordinate their efforts to give back to deserving people.  I think we set lofty goals and design ideas for this project but were able to finish them. I am happy we were ambitious with this project. Also, I was very impressed by everyone’s dedication to the project and how well everyone worked together. The amount of work that was laid out in front of us was somewhat staggering but it is satisfying to know that we were able to complete the house.  Everyone played a contributing role in this project.

Every team in the class played an integral part of this project from logistics to construction.  It was definitely important that we had contractors on the job site to help finish the really difficult parts of the house. Thank you to the teams that contacted these contractors.  Also, getting the word out to campus for volunteers definitely helped out.  In addition, being a part of the finance team was a good experience personally and I feel that we worked well together as a team to bring together enough money and donors to support this project.  Each of the project managers had a lot going on and I feel that everyone handled their individual and group responsibilities very well.  Thanks everyone for a great experience and good luck with the rest of school and your future endeavors.

The Polyhouse project is nothing like any other project I have ever been a part of. Despite all of the warnings from previous polyhousers, I could have never guessed the extent to which my boundaries and will would be tested. The experiences and lessons learned in this class truly surpassed my expectations. That being said, I can say with 100% confidence that this class was the most valuable experience I had this year, during my graduate studies. Throughout my career I know I will continue to reflect on all of the mini successes and skills that I developed.

It was made clear from the beginning that all of us would have to step outside of our comfort zone. Truer words have never been spoken.  I personally have always been more of a reserved person. In group discussions, I would occasionally offer up my opinions, but only when conversation became stagnant. After going through Polyhouse, I realized that any idea or thought should be expressed, even if you are unsure about the quality or insightfulness. Rather, the point is to remove ego from your ideas and engage in creative and constructive debate. I find that I am always happier and more positive when I do contribute, even if my ideas are not chosen as the best option. This is certainly an area will continue to work on, and Polyhouse has given me the foundation to do so.

On the other hand, one of my greatest strengths is a hard worker mentality. I have always been known as a workhorse among my peers and I am proud to say that I put everything I could into this project. I was extremely pleased and thoroughly impressed to see the same effort from all of my classmates as well. All of us agreed to the same scope, and through many long days and nights, we accomplished what we set out to do.  Without the commitment and accountability that each person took in this project, there is no way that we could have accomplished this amazing feat. In addition, In addition, I was truly touched by the community members who rose to the challenge and supported us with food, materials, labor, and monetary donations.

I will say that there were certain moments where I doubted the professionalism of some of my team members; however, this is a natural occurrence in a learning environment and I feel that we have all grown in that respect. All of us have learned our own lessons as well and there is no need in dwelling on the little mishaps, but I would like to point out the main source of these problems. In my opinion, all issues were caused by failures to communicate, both within and among teams.

There were instances within my own team where one specific individual consistently appeared to be a couple pages behind us. This person may have felt a little out of place because they were not familiar with the type of work we were setting out to do. Our PM, Nick, did his best to include this person; however, the preference of this individual seemed to be to communicate through email. I have learned through this project and other projects at Cal Poly that this is no substitute for face-to-face communication. If someone is uncomfortable in group situations then one on one should be used; however, it is vital for the individual to learn to actively participate in group discussions. This I feel is something that should be strongly encouraged next year to ensure that everyone is on the same page. The inter-team conflicts were also at the fault of miscommunication, and lack of communication for that matter. I understand that it would be a lot to manage, but I feel that the class PM’s should take a more active role in getting teams together to discuss any issues. I think a lot of bickering and speculating about who is working and who is not could have been eased by face-to-face communication.

All in all, we should be very proud of what we have accomplished here. It was an honor to have been able to work on such a prestigious and rewarding project, and who better than the Todd family to receive such a gift. Thank you Liz for making this project possible, I am very glad to have met you this year. I made about 20 new friends this quarter, which alone is pretty amazing.

What an amazing journey this project has been over the last 10 weeks!  I have learned so much about so many different things, its hard for me to clearly describe all of the emotions that I have felt and am still feeling.  What I do know is that Polyhouse is singlehandedly the most worthwhile project I have ever been apart of.  The consequences of our failure to the Todd family and repercussions of our mistakes transformed this learning experience into much, much more than just another class.  The atmosphere of reality transformed each of us from students into truly dedicated professionals progressing together toward a common goal.  Each of us were pushed way beyond our normal limits physically, mentally, emotionally and from this I feel that we have grown a lot as individuals and as a community.

It seems as if it were just yesterday when we first drove to the very first site visit to meet the Todd’s and take note of our blank canvas.  Its truly mind boggling to keep track of all the work and planning that went into this project.  It just goes to show the communal power of dedicated individuals and the kindness and generosity from our community!

For me, one of the most rewarding aspects of this project as the fact that the Todd family is truly deserving of everything we could do and more.  Every interaction I’ve had with Simon, Ruby and the childeren has been a kind and sincere reminder that we couldn’t have chosen a better family!  I am honored to be a part of such a great and inspiring project and will never forget the great times I had during this quarter.  I have learned so much about myself and cannot thank my fellow classmates and community members enough for making Polyhouse 2010 the great success that it is!

Dankie, Sukran, Jae Zu Din Pa De, Skee, Merci, Mahalo, Cheers, Shakkran, and Modupe

As I was writing this blog, I was trying to think of how many ways to say THANK YOU. Did you know there are over 465 different ways to say thank you? Well, there is a limit to this blog, so the ones above are just going to have to work! Anyway, throughout this project there have been many people needing a special thanking – from the amazing contractors to the dedicated volunteers and to the class participants.  But, I want to focus on just one person. This person is great, fabulous, amazing, a mentor, and someone to look up too.  Many words describe her, but really her name says everything — Liz Schlemer.

Its hard to believe just 9 weeks ago, Liz introduced herself and we, as a crazy class of 28, all said “I’m in!” to Liz and PolyHouse Project. We committed to being a part of this class and to this project.  In the end, it was all well worth it!

Here’s the moral of the story, Liz didn’t have to teach this class, this class could have easily taken a sabbatical for a year. Imagine leading a class whose legacy was heard all over the world, AND trying to pull it off as successful as in years past!?! The challenge was clearly huge, and I would assume daunting at times.  But, Liz really pulled this team together to create a cohesive group that was able to be adventurous yet tactful in their scope. Snaps to Liz for putting up with all of us (especially me), and being a superb leader, friend, coach, and educator.

Jumping into the whirlwind of PolyHouse has its ups and downs, but with Liz in the driver’s seat, we were ALWAYS kept between the lines! Thank you!

I want to start off by saying how happy I am that I was able to participate in this class. It was a little more difficult to fit into my schedule than I had anticipated, but it was well worth it. Right off the bat I knew that it was going to be an interesting quarter. Though I joined a little late, it was easy to see the differing personalities that made up our class. All the more fun, I suppose. I enjoyed seeing people come out of their shells. Besides the fact that I got to know people I wouldn’t have normally met, I saw sides to people that I wouldn’t have seen in a normal class. In some cases this included a person’s reactions to stress. Save for a few incidents, I’d say everyone handled it well. The fact that we completed the task is evidence enough. As for myself, I’m a little disappointed. I’ve never been self-motivated, but I had hoped that I might overcome that throughout this project. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Luckily, there was enough to get done that no matter where I went there was someone that could give me a job to do. In the end, I am very happy with what we were able to accomplish and I am thrilled that I was able to be a part of it. I had a great time working with everyone and getting to know a lot of people.


What an experience PolyHouse 2010 has been. As I have said many times before, I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to participate in such an amazing project. I would rather have classes like this, which are hands on and fast paced. I seemed  to be more focused and dedicated to this class than any before.

A class of this nature seems to provide a more realist representation of what the real world is like. Nobody was there to hold our hand or do the work for us. Once we agreed to the scope of the project, we had to make it happen. I heard many people outside of the class say, “There is no way you can accomplish this in just a few weekends!” This just served as motivation for all who was involved. I believe we all wanted to succeed for our own pride, but primarily for the Todd family.

The result of everyone’s hard work will last for many years to come. I hope it makes the Todd’s quality of life even better. I admire the resilience they demonstrate when facing tough times. I ‘m also grateful for everyone who participated in this project. We had such an amazing turnout from so many volunteers and contractors. This helped provide the necessary workforce we needed. I had such a great time participating in this project and will truly miss working with some of the people involved. I’m already excited to serve as a volunteer for next year’s class! Thank you again to everyone who was involved.

Poly House. If I had a word count for my conversations this would be my most used phrase this quarter.  I soon realized that my conversations in the classroom, phone calls home, and chats with friends all seemed to be about Poly House. While it was probably a little due to stress, it mostly was because I had fallen in love (with the project, of course). Learning to be pushed outside my comfort zone and exhausting resources I didn’t even know existed. Poly House did teach me about project management, but it was so much more.

While the final product of the house turned out fantastic, I think the result of the relationships among teammates was the most impressive outcome. While the personalities varied from shy to overly outgoing and sensitive to outspoken, I am still blown away that 28 people could get along (for the most part) in such a high stress environment. I think this was due to the fact that each student wanted this project to succeed and was willing to expend every last ounce of energy they had to make it work.

Looking back on the project, I can see a noticeable change in everyone. Personally, I have learned so much about my abilities, my work ethic, and myself. Not only will I always look back at this project as a fun experience, but also as a time when I was challenged to try new things and work with so many new people. While the project might be over, the lessons learned and friendships built will last forever.