James Madison University

NEW COLLEGES FORMED A plan to reorganize the College of Integrated Science and Technology into two colleges took effect July 1, 2012. The new colleges are the College of Health and Behavioral Studies and the College of Integrated Science and Engineering.

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Freddie Mac Sponsors JMU "Battle of the Builds"

April 5, 2007
By: Amanda Rivera

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PHOTO: Battle of the BuildsAre LEGO’s the building materials of tomorrow? Major mortgage corporation Freddie Mac thinks so, well, for just one day anyway. Wednesday, March 28, Godwin Field was invaded by Freddie Mac and hordes of homebuilding protégées for the “ Battle of the Builds,” a competition designed for JMU students to exercise their creativity. “ Since logistics prevent us from building actual houses at JMU, we came up with this LEGO building idea,” says Heidi Cuthbertson of Freddie Mac College Relations - Human Resources, “I anticipate that the creativity of the teams will engender many different types of ‘houses.’ This is loosely in line with Freddie Mac's tagline, ‘We Make Home Possible’ - Freddie Mac's mission is to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the housing market.”

While reminiscent of pastimes on the playground, JMU and Freddie Mac kept the competition worthy of a place of higher education. Each team was entered with no more than 6 people under their name of choice (some interesting ones included “Who is your granddaddy” and “Team Super Mega Awesome”). Rules also stated that each of the 25 participating teams could only use LEGOs in their own basket, each team had to use all their LEGOs, teams only had one hour to build and of course, teams must demonstrate sportsmanlike conduct. Judges were asked to assess each building according to creativity, aesthetics, structural soundness and overall appearance. These highly qualified individuals included College of ISAT Dean Jerry Benson, JMU Football Head Coach Mickey Matthews and College of Business Dean Robert Reid.

With a “Let the Battle of the Builds begin,” teams delved into their project with seemingly more intensity than during finals week. Canvassing the tent under which the competition was held, various styles and strategies emerged. While some teams displayed thoughtfulness with such ambitious plans as a Frank Lloyd Wright house and the ISAT building, others built upon spontaneous ingenuity. ISAT major John Fletcher, a member of the “Block Rockers” team admitted that this had been the first day their team had all gotten together, but meanwhile confident, he said, “Originally we were up for the challenge.” An interdisciplinary team, John thought it would be interesting to see what a couple of ISAT and Studio Art majors could come up with collectively. However, they all share one thing in common: “We all kind of grew up with LEGOs,” says John.

As the Battle of the Builds progressed through the hour, teams began to differentiate themselves from the competition. While some teams had only built a foundation of grass complete with the all-time favorite white picket fence, other teams had already began on the second story of their house. However, a lot of potential was seen. Analyzing each team’s artwork throughout the competition, celebrity judge Dr. Benson planned ahead in case of a tie, “I was keeping notes on how they work together,” he says. With the allotted time winding down, teams began to scramble even more to make their last-minute touches. Visiting LEGO champion Chris Duncan continued to build despite answering a call on his cell phone.

Once the hour had been called, teams waited around with anticipation of how their houses faired against the other participants . Computer Science major Alan Crouch of team “Lego My Eggo,” admitted that his team had come across some technical difficulties . While they managed to mend the caved-in roof, he says “The hard part was figuring out what each person was doing and then delegating tasks .” In spite of this obstacle, his team placed first, with each member winning an iPod shuffle and a $500 donation to the student organization of their choice . However, there were no real winners or losers of the day . While they didn’t place, John Fletcher says “We had a great time and each team member had valuable inputs .” All the LEGOs used in the competition were donated to local shelters and children’s charities .