By RYAN B. LAWRENCE
University of Alberta
In case I may have thrown you off with the lack
of a September article, the rumours are true. School is officially
in and things have certainly rolled off to a great start.
Students are returning from summer vacation, some from their
summer work, but most look forward to a fresh beginning for
the school year. The air is filled with the smells of barbecues,
the sights of student group presentation stands, and the ringing
cheers of "We are, we are, we are the engineers!"
What would the beginning of a new year be without our brand
new, fresh-out-of-high-school, wet-behind-the-ears, first-year
students? You can differentiate this species of student from
the rest by the baffled expressions they display as they search
endlessly for classes on University of Alberta's rapidly expanding
campus. Should you come across one of these studious newbies,
please point them in the correct direction - not towards that
Orientation highlighted the first week of September. Orientation
leaders showed students around, and some of the mysteries
of the U of A campus were revealed to them. Highlights included
the new engineering buildings (ETLC and ECERF) and the engineering
barbecue, which was held on Tuesday, Sept. 3, in front of
ETLC. At the barbecue students were introduced to multiple
faculty members, including the Dr. David Lynch, P.Eng., the
dean of engineering. Students enjoyed the atmosphere of the
outdoor barbecue, the free food and, of course, the fabulous
Speaking of great atmosphere, the General Engineering Entrance
Requirement (GEER 101) was in full throttle during the week
of Sept. 9. A full week of activities planned and run by the
Engineering Student Society facilitated the first-year students
in getting involved in the school, as well as in meeting new
people in engineering. Activities included a billiards night
in The Empty Pocket, a games night, a design competition (the
classic egg drop), a movie night and a wrap up barbecue. GEER
101 coordinator Wade Penner called it a "great success"
and expects an even better turn out next year.
High Hopes for Next Year
(compiled with the help of the Formula SAE team)
In June, members of the Formula SAE student project traveled
across the border to Detroit, where they competed against
130 other university teams from around the world. The competition
began nicely with a top 20 finish in the design presentation
event. This event consisted of the sales pitch for the car
in front of a panel of professionals from companies such as
Ford, GM, Honda, and Daimler-Chrysler.
Unfortunately, the weather was uncooperative and the rain
dug into the team's placing. With the team unable to compete
because of the rain, U of A (along with 75 other teams) received
a score of zero for the endurance event, sinking them to the
bottom of the rankings.
On June 14, returning from Detroit both more experienced and
especially determined for next season, the Formula SAE Team
unveiled its 2002 formula racecar. Many of their sponsors
attended the unveiling and even took a test drive in the sleek
single-seater. Checkered Flag sponsor Dave Morris said he
was thoroughly impressed with the acceleration and handling
of the car.
Team leader Nigel Lavers and Amy Laidlaw explained their high
hopes for next year. "We have a young team and they learned
a lot at the Formula SAE competition," said Ms. Lavers.
"The design of the 2003 Formula Car is already under
way. More testing time, improved driver ergonomics and weight
reduction are some of the goals established for the 2003 season."
for more information on this and other student projects.
New Calculator Policy
On Sept. 9, the Admissions Promotions and Timetables Committee
passed the outline for the phasing in of a calculator policy.
The gist of it is that all first-year professors teaching
an engineering course will have a choice of three options
when preparing their exams: no calculators permitted into
the exam, only approved non-programmable calculators permitted,
and approved programmable, or approved non-programmable calculators
permitted. The list of non-programmable calculators consists
of three calculators (about $20 each) while the list of programmable
calculators consists of nine calculators ($120-175 each).
Those students without one of these calculators will write
the exam without.
Originally the policy applied to all engineering students
effective Sept. 2002. As well the list contained only one
programmable calculator and two non-programmable calculators.
Upon receiving literally hundreds of e-mails from concerned
students, the Faculty of Engineering decided that implementation
of the policy needed revising.
This policy is to create a level playing field for all engineers
during exams as some new calculators boast exceedingly large
memory storage and infrared communication abilities, allowing
the possibility of students storing class notes and communicating
for more information on this policy.
This is Ryan B. Lawrence's first column as the new U of A
student contributor. He is a second-year computer engineering
student, executive assistant of the Engineering Students Society
at U of A, a volunteer Scout leader, and a promotions co-coordinator
for Campus Crusade for Christ.