Anniversary marks start of Engineering Week


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Photo by Courtesy of Neha Desai |

As part of Engineering Week, the School of Engineering plans to organize a cardboard canoe race, which will be open to the public.


Rutgers participates in a week dedicated to engineers every year to show appreciation for that discipline. But this year, it is also celebrating the 150th anniversary of the School of Engineering.

The School of Engineering is collaborating with the Engineering Governing Council and several other communities to organize events for both students and the public this week.

Neha Desai, a representative of the Engineering Governing Council, is in charge of organizing the student events with Vetri Velan, president of the EGC.

Desai, a School of Engineering junior, said the EGC is responsible for hosting most of the student functions, including: A student-faculty coffee house, cardboard canoe races, Young Engineers day, NERD Olympics and their new Engineering in the Movies Film Series.

The student-faculty coffee house is intended to enhance the sense of community between the students and faculty in the School of Engineering, said Velan, a School of Engineering senior.

“We want students to interact with their professors on a personal level,” he said. “The purpose of it is a casual environment where students can feel comfortable getting to know their professors.”

He said interactions like these would help coordinate research opportunities for involved and interested students. He wants to make professional interaction accessible to students to further enhance their experience with the engineering discipline.

“Engineering Week is good for everyone to have a good time, not just engineers,” she said.

The cardboard canoe races, a boat race open to the public, is a competitive demonstration of how engineering projects work with limited resources, she said.

Teams have one hour to build the best boat they can with School of Engineering equipment, Desai said. Using cardboard, duct tape, box cutters and scissors, the makeshift boats must be able to support two people and successfully go across the Werblin Recreation Center pool.

She said three different types of awards are given: One for the first to make it across, one for the best costume or theme and one for the most dramatic boat capsize.

“It’s about what engineers do,” she said. “They work with what they have. It’s like a real project — sometimes you float, sometimes you sink.”

“Young Engineers’ day” is an outreach event geared towards students of all ages, Desai said. The Office of Student Development organized the event, which features classrooms and demonstrations of the applications of engineering.

“Students come from different counties and towns all over New Jersey,” she said. “They’re for varying ages of students — some events are ranging from kindergarten to even high school.”

Desai said the goal of “Young Engineers’ day” is to expand interest in engineering. She believes that it is not a profession many people consider in their younger years.

“NERD Olympics” is a science-themed carnival, Desai said. Thirteen different stories helped to organize the event, which is made for all Rutgers students to have fun.

With events like “Science Jeopardy,” a pie-eating contest and textbook relay races, the School of Engineering gives back to the Rutgers community through fun engineering-focused events, Velan said.

“It’s the biggest event of the week on the EGC’s side,” he said. “There’s food at tables, an Instagram contest and many more things for everyone to enjoy.”

“NERD Olympics” plans to be hosted Wednesday at the Multipurpose Room in Busch Student Center, according to the School of Engineering website.

Engineering in the Movies Film Series is a free film screening series in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the School of Engineering, Desai said.

“[The EGC] chose six movies based on things engineers tend to like,” she said. “These are things that are related to science fiction, fantasy or techy.”

Desai said other events were organized by faculty in the Dean’s Office, such as the “Engineering Scholars day” and the Distinguished Dean’s Lecture.

The School of Engineering is hosting “Engineering Scholars’ Day,” in the Multipurpose Room in Busch Student Center today, according to the School of Engineering website.

The Distinguished Dean’s Lecture features a Rutgers alumnus Ramsey Homsany who studied chemical and biochemical engineering and works as a general counsel of Dropbox Inc., according to the School of Engineering website.

Velan said he would like every student to get excited about engineering as a practice and the School of Engineering itself.

The goal is to show students what engineering is all about and the opportunities that it offers, he said.

“It’s kind of like the Olympics. You see the entire world getting unified over this competition in the name of good sportsmanship and games,” he said. “I want the School of Engineering to be a unified community.”


By Andrew Rodriguez

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