student column


Students Look Ahead To the Balm of Eng Week


January — the month of frostbite, triple-digit utility bills, and contemplations of southerly migration. It is, in a word, a doozy. For many, the only thing to look forward to is February.

However, this is not necessarily the case at the University of Alberta. Although, just like the rest of the province, it was cold enough on campus to make one contemplate running far away from studies, there was something in January to look forward to: the Engineering Students' Society's famous Engineering Week.

Ever since 1939, the ESS has been sponsoring this event, which fosters kinship and pride among engineers, and promotes campus-wide community spirit. Over the years, it has evolved from a single-night Engineer's Ball to its present form – a week long collection of activities and competitions that reach their conclusion at the ball.

Past activities have included slide-rule competitions, beauty pageants, and several other anachronistic events that have since been phased out and replaced by the battle of the bands, a floor hockey tournament, a scavenger hunt, a design competition, a tug-o-war, keg races, a beer brewing competition, several requisite parties and more.

As always, the week will close with what will be the 67th Engineer's Ball. Students will dress up, get down, and find out what team won the week's events.

Wade Penner, president of the U of A Engineering Students' Society, is one man who certainly looks forward to the proceedings, especially the ball. “It's something you can dress up for and have a good time at. You look formal, but it's not too terribly formal,” Wade says.

Although incidents in past years have forced many of the Engineering Week festivities off campus, Wade is trying to run the third consecutive incident-free event – with the aim of eventually getting the activities back into Quad. “We're trying to have a good week, where we foster pride and build a sense of community.”

It should be noted that this Engineering Week has no connection with National Engineering Week, an event sponsored by the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, which the ESS is also active in.

ESS has participated in National Engineering Week for the last two years. Events put on by the ESS include the Pi Throw, a pancake breakfast, food sculptures and a banquet. The U of A is “one of the most active schools in Canada for National Engineering Week,” Wade says.

The ESS is looking to promote both of these events and help them grow. The society believes both are ultimately beneficial to the engineering community on campus.

Wade would like to see an increased U of A presence in National Engineering Week, and also has plans for future ESS Engineering Weeks on campus. He would like to encourage alumni to show support, something that has started this year with the inclusion of an alumni team in the festivities.

Because really, that's what it's all about: engineers of all ages working together to accomplish a common goal. Even if that goal is to propel a keg across a distance in as short a time as possible.

Author Credits

University of Alberta
Student Contributor (Engineering)