BY RYAN B. LAWRENCE
University of Alberta
the most wonderful time of the year
With the students competing
And everyone telling you “We’re Engineers!”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Whether you are currently an engineering student or a past
engineering student, or you simply want to be an engineering
student, this modified quote taken from the famous song It’s
the Most Wonderful Time of the Year can only mean one thing:
it’s Engineering Week again!
Engineering Week, held over the second week of January,
is the time of year when engineering students break into
teams and are pitted against each other in a flurry of heated
competition. Teams are defined by their individual disciplines,
but this year we also had two non-traditional teams join
in the fun.
Along with the computer, chemical/materials, civil/environmental,
electrical, first-year, physics, mechanical, and mineral/petroleum
engineering teams, we had new entries in the form of a social
engineering team and a business/arts team. The addition of
teams such as these has never occurred before in the history
of Engineering Week.
At the end of the week the team with the most points wins
bragging rights for the rest of the year. But it is not just
this reward that drives engineering students to compete.
It’s not just the fun of the activities or the challenge
of the events.
It’s also the people, the esprit de corps if you will,
that makes this event worth all the work.
The camaraderie and faculty pride nurtured during Engineering
Week help make our faculty unique. No other faculty on campus
boasts an event as large and long-running and as Engineering
Often, students searching for a university look at campus
life as well as educational prestige. The phrase is often
passed around: “There is more to life than your studies.” Engineering
Week, therefore, helps keep the University of Alberta’s
engineering program a good choice for a well-rounded education.
Six Decades and Counting
Engineering Week dates from 1939, making this year its 66th
anniversary. With this long-standing event come many traditions.
Probably the most well known is the Engineers’ Ball,
the longest-running social event on campus. There is speculation
that an engineers’ banquet occurred even before the
birth of Engineering Week.
The event has evolved from a simple banquet to a full ball,
complete with dinner, dancing and entertainment. It is here
that Engineering Week’s individual and overall winners
Other events include a special newspaper called The Godiva,
which features a full-page splash from each club promoting
its team’s theme, battle of the bands, tug of war,
movie night (for which each club has to put together a movie
related to its theme) and poster design.
A more involved event is the design competition, which has
each team given limited materials and a task. Each team,
using as many of the supplied materials as necessary, has
an hour to build a contraption that completes the task.
Teams are scored on their presentations of solutions, as
well as the effectiveness of their contraptions.
This year the task was to build a protective vehicle for
an egg. When egg and vehicle were dropped from six floors
up, the egg was supposed to remain unbroken.
Along with events to benefit the students and esprit de corps,
there are events that are support the greater community.
The first event of the week is a tech display at the Odyssium,
which educates the public on university projects. A blood
collection drive awards points to teams based on the number
of people who donate blood. This year, donation numbers also
went toward an Emergency Response Team competition between
Edmonton and Calgary.
A food drive through the week has each team receiving points
based on the number and types of items brought in.
The overall success of this week was due to the tireless
efforts of student volunteers. Engineering Week and its positive
impact on students couldn’t have happened without them.
-Photo courtesy of the Engineering Students’ Society
Mechanical engineering students work a round of tug-of-war.
Winners of the Engineering Week competitions were the students
of the civil engineering program, mechanical placed second.