Engineering Week Fuses Fun and Learning

We live in the non-stop world of the quarter system. Students are run to the ground by classes and the constant pressure of many responsibilities. It can really be too much sometimes, especially in the more competitive majors, so once in awhile, a change is in order.
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering found a way to have fun and relax using the very cause of their stress: education. Pushing back the books and taking the skills off of paper, students are given the chance to apply their education in real situations.
These aren’t the stereotypical nerds who have osteoporosis and wear black-rimmed glasses. These students know how to throw an event. With the help of the Engineering Student Council, 20 engineering student organizations and many other students, 2004’s Engineering Week was filled with tons of events.
Taking place last week, the prestigious Henry Samueli School of Engineering relaxed and celebrated its 31st annual ‘Exceeding the Limits of Today’-themed Engineering Week, corresponding in time with National Engineering Week.
The lovingly-nicknamed ‘E-Week’ kicked off with an opening ceremony on Feb. 23, followed by the traditional breakfast where students and faculty switch positions and the faculty has to cater to the students.
The Engineering Student Council planned events such as the EngiTECH Career Fair, a high school outreach day, an E-Week Awards Banquet and a Faculty and Friends softball game that was continued throughout the week.
‘Students gain the opportunity to win money through competition prizes, find a job, and interact with faculty and alumni,’ said Erica Chung, the Engineering Student Council’s external vice president.
The EngiTECH Career Fair brought 26 engineering-affiliated corporations and organizations that students were able to get information from. Students were given the chance to have one-on-one conversations with representatives about their future and see which paths they’re interested in. Big names like Conexant, Boeing, IBM, Skyworks, Unisys and Broadcom were present.
The event pushed students to apply their engineering education in a fun manner with 16 different engineering competitions. Students competed in these engineering skill-based contests to win cash prizes.
In the various competitions that were held throughout the week, there were many engineering-related activities. In one of the contests, students attempted to design and build popsicle-stick bridges that could hold a certain weight. They were asked to create a package that can protect an egg that is dropped from the Engineering Tower, 7 stories from the ground. Another contest included mechanisms that could toss beanbags to phenomenal distances. There was even a competition to build complicated contraptions that could open a soda can.
‘It’s a good way for organizations and students to get involved in the school,’ said Eta Kappa Nu member Warren Chen.
Chen, a third-year electrical engineering major, came out to support his Eta Kappa Nu, which is a part of the Engineering and Computer Programming Honor Society. He himself did not take part in the competition, but wanted to support others and promote engineering on campus, showing that this school is one that holds the interests of the students as well as their academic pursuits.
Even though this was an engineering school event, its mission was to spread school spirit and continue the university’s mission. A great example of how impressive student groups can be, this was an event completely run and planned by students, for students.
‘Although many engineering students participate, all activities are open to everyone,’ Chung said. ‘The events are to celebrate the spirit of engineering.’
One of the more exciting competitions was the Race of the Ring. Teams of three had to complete a relay race around Ring Road, ending in Aldrich Park. This event included Lego constructions, trivia and team members who had to run with balloons connected to them. The fastest team won a cash prize of $150.
The event also reached out to younger students thinking about a future in engineering. High school students interested in engineering shadowed university students throughout their Thursday schedule, even stopping by the E-Week competitions. The ESC funds the food and the students volunteer to help out.
Friday’s Award Banquet handed out awards to engineering students in different majors and engineering faculty members to honor their hard work.
Saturday winded down the celebrations with a friendly faculty/student softball game and BBQ at nearby Gabrielino Field.

To learn more about the School of Engineering, visit www.eng.uci.edu.