Terri-Jane Yuzda

What Would University Be Without all Those First-Years?

University of Alberta
Student Contributor

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 non-existent elevator!


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 prizes!

GEER 101

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."

Visit www.ess.ualberta.ca 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 with each.

Visit www.engineering.ualberta.ca/students/calculator.asp 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.


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