Alan Martin

student column


U of C Eng Students Prepare
For Competition


Engineering design competitions are a regular occurrence at engineering schools across Canada, and the University of Calgary is no exception. Students are able to participate in engineering competitions at the school level, and if they win they can go on to the regional level and even the nationals.

Recently, engineering students participated in the Western Engineering Competition in Saskatoon. The four-day event, Jan. 26-30, saw teams from engineering schools across Western Canada compete against each other in seven events.

The U of C chose the teams it would send to WEC by holding its own Mini-WEC. This competition had all the events of the full WEC, and the winners were sent to WEC to represent the U of C.

The seven competition categories at WEC are team design, senior team design, editorial communications, explanatory communications, corporate design, entrepreneurial design and extemporaneous debate.

Team design involves designing and building something based on a project given to the team the day of the competition. The team has four hours for all the work. The senior team design is similar, except students must be at least in their third year of engineering, the team will be given 12-15 hours to work on their project and it will be more complicated, requiring additional research.

In editorial communi-cations, competitors form and present an opinion on the sociological impact of a current technological issue. Explanatory communications require the presentation of a technical issue in a manner that can be understood by the general public.

In corporate design, competitors present a project that will solve a problem currently faced by engineering companies. In entrepreneurial design, a product (or service or process) that's currently unavailable in industry is presented, along with a plan to commercialize it.

Finally, extemporaneous debate involves two teams competing against each other, debating a topic that was disclosed not long before they begin. Competitors must be able to construct and defend their ideas with minimal preparation time.

The University of Calgary had competitors in five of these categories (all but corporate and entrepreneurial design), and had an extremely good showing. U of C teams captured first place in both editorial and explanatory communications, as well as both team design competitions.

The U of C winners are: Allison Hagerman (explanatory communications); Joseph Chang (editorial communications); Jordan Abbott, Darcy Funk, Daryl van Boom and Joshua van Lindenberg (senior team design); Micheal Akre, David Castalino, Lionel Li and Brendan McDougall (team design).

Calgary Plays Host
Throughout Canada, there are three other regional engineering competitions held annually. Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic region each have their own regional competition. Those placing first or second at each regional competition are eligible to compete in the Canadian Engineering Competition.
This year is particularly special for the University of Calgary, as we're hosting the CEC for 2005. This is the first time the CEC has been held in Calgary, and the U of C plans to make a great showing. With four firsts at the Western Engineering Competition, that goal is off to a great start.

The University of Calgary won the right to host CEC 2005 after a successful bid to the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students in 2003. The CFES represents over 50,000 undergraduate engineering students across Canada, and the CEC is a division of the CFES.

There are more than 40 schools across Canada that are members of CFES, and it is these schools that are eligible to participate in CEC. Each region has its own, smaller federation. In Western Canada, it is the Western Engineering Students' Societies Team.

CEC 2005 is being organized by a dedicated group of people. The main organizing committee has been working on CEC for over 18 months.

The committee comprises Erin Thomson (chair), Allison Clavelle (VP competitor relations), Ryan Harrison (VP logistics), Kate MacGregor (VP hospitality), Chris Popoff (VP competitions), Scott Quiring (VP communications) and Collin Tsui (VP sponsorship and finance).

Over the last six months, the number of people involved with the organization increased to about 40. All the organizers are working strictly on a volunteer basis. Funding for CEC is provided by corporate sponsors such as General Dynamics, Shell and ENMAX and other organizations such as the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers and APEGGA.

The CEC 2005 patron this year (the biggest sponsor) is the Canadian Forces, which has helped out considerably with CEC. This is the Canadian Forces' third consecutive year as CEC patron.

CEC 2005 took place March 3-6 in Calgary. For more information, visit www.cec2005.ca. Contact information for the organizing committee, as well as a list of the corporate sponsors, is available on the CEC 2005 webpage.

Author Credits

University of Calgary
Student Contributor (Engineering)