Terri-Jane Yuzda

Western Engineering Conference and Competition Returns to U of A


University of Alberta
Student Contributor



"To showcase the ingenuity of Canadian engineering students while providing an enjoyable opportunity to network and develop professional skills."

Powerful, isn't it? This is the mission statement of the Western Engineering Conference and Competition, which takes place Jan. 22-26 at the University of Alberta - the third time since 1985 that the WECC has visited Edmonton.

WECC, an annual competition of delegates from Western Canadian universities, is in its 19th year and boasts attendance of more than150 delegates from eight universities. Completely student organized and operated, the conference is overseen by the Western Engineering Student Society Team and the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students.

WECC's roots go back to the late 1960s when Canadian engineering students began regional conferences to discuss issues. In 1967 the first Western Canadian Congress of Engineering Students was held, but it wasn't until 1980 that Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., held the first design competition.

Other regions soon followed suit with their own competitions, and in January 1984 delegates from across Canada voted to hold a national conference. This conference, which officially began in 1985, brought together participants who excelled at regional competitions in Western Canada, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The first Western Engineering Design Competition was held in 1985, at the University of British Columbia.

As the demand for varying communication skills grew in the working world, the competition introduced new challenges in communication and debate. In 1990 the term design was dropped and the conference and competition were merged into what we know today as the Western Engineering Conference and Competition.
The conference component of WECC has been running for 35 years. It brings together delegates to discuss relevant issues affecting both their universities and industry itself. This year the focus will be "to discuss current problems faced by industry and its relation to society, to explore the applicability of competition skills to industry work, and to improve non-technical skills," says the WECC 2003 website.

The competition element of WECC is made up of seven categories, all with a focus on problem solving, presentation skills and real-life situations. The theme for this year's competition and conference is Innovation and Exploration, which truly describes the intention and focus of the coming gathering.

In his letter of endorsement the Hon. Victor Doerksen, Alberta's minister of innovation and science, promotes WECC. "Through the Western Engineering Conference and Competition 2003, future leaders in science can supplement their classroom learning as they grow into highly skilled employees," Mr. Doerksen says. "Likewise, the conference will provide opportunities for forward-thinking companies to meet the best and brightest engineering students in the west."


Louis Bezuidenhout
Laurel Cooper
Candice Heron
Padet Khosathit
Brian Lau
Loren Parfitt
Anton Schernus
Vikran Sierra
Gary Wicentowich


Phone Wayne Poon
at (780) 439-2644
e-mail: sponsorship@wecc2003.wesst.ca
visit http://wecc2003.wesst.ca


Editorial Communication
Delegates discuss the impact that a current technological issue has within our society.

Explanatory Communication
The goal for delegates is to take a complicated issue, and discuss it in terms that the general public can understand.

Corporate Design
Teams employ their ingenuity to take on a problem within society and devise a feasible solution to it.

Entrepreneurial Design
Teams find a need, and design a new product or service not already available.

Extemporaneous Debate
Delegates are faced with the challenge of presenting their viewpoint on an issue with minimal preparation time.

Junior Team Design
A team of four is given materials, a few hours and a problem. Best idea and presentation takes home the prize.

Senior Team Design
A similar endeavor to the junior team design, but different in the fact that the problem is more difficult and teams are given 10-15 hours to complete their design and presentation.



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