Engineering clubs compete during annual Engineering Week

On February 18, 2014

  • Bryan Seymour and William January, both senior mechanical engineering majors, play catapult pong, an event hosted by Theta Tau, the engineering fraternity. Yusong Shi, The Spectrum

This week, some of UB's most science-savvy students will compete with soda bottles and robots.

Engineering Week, a national, week-long celebration of math, science, technology and engineering, involves all of the engineering clubs at UB. Each group hosts events that relate to their club or discipline within the field, according to Student Association Engineering Coordinator Joseph Pace. The Engineering Council hosts the annual event.

Throughout the week, clubs in the field compete in each other's games and challenges to see who can win the most points. The winning groups are awarded cash prizes - which are funded by the co-sponsorship line of the SA budget - for their club or organization.

"It benefits the departments by putting UB in a good light in the community as well as professionally, [because] there are reps from the sponsors who come in and see the application of classroom knowledge as well as the passion evident in our students to go above and beyond the classroom to enhance their education through involvement with student organizations," said Pace, a sophomore aerospace engineering major.

He said the event receives funding from corporate sponsors who believe in the value of what UB's engineers are doing and feel supporting the aspiring engineers is a worthy cause.

"Thanks to our corporate sponsors, we are currently working on building a new area for Friday's Bot Wars competition, which is the marquee event of E-Week," he said.

On Feb. 18, the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) hosted a life-size version of the board game Operation. This is the club's first time participating in the event as a permanent student organization.

Participants are given scenarios of patients with serious ailments and must use the given tools, or a combination of the tools, to treat them. There is a sterile section students must stay in and they must use whatever tools they touch.

Abhiram Rao, a senior biomedical engineering major and the treasurer of BMES, said the game was designed to mirror their field of work.

"Our aim as biomedical engineers is to construct devices for surgeries [and] to design those devices," Rao said.

Theta Tau, the engineering fraternity, added an engineering touch to the popular college drinking game beer pong.

Instead of using their hands to shoot ping-pong balls, the clubs built their own catapults for launching the ball into cups of water. It takes physics and calculations of angles and force to get the pong ball to the other side, said Austin Nilsen, a senior civil engineering major.

Clubs designed their catapults weeks in advance.

"[Engineering Week] is really good because it allows each of the clubs to get their name out," Nilsen said. "[We have] one week to showcase what we do and who we are."

On Wednesday, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) will host its "Rocketry" event, in which students can assemble and launch small rockets. From 10-11 a.m., it will take place in 145B Student Union, and the second hour will be in the Student Union Field. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., students will launch rockets made from two-liter soda bottles at the Society of Women Engineer's "Bottle Rockets" event in the SU Field.

Also Wednesday, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) is hosting a "Salsa Making" event, in which clubs will compete to craft the best salsa from their given ingredients from 1-3 p.m. in 145B SU. On Thursday, the Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) is holding its "Recycling Relay" event the same day. Students will try to sort recyclable items as fast as they can. The event will take place in the Union from 10 a.m. to noon.

On Friday, the last day of Engineering Week, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) will host "Bot Wars," which is the "Marquee Event of Engineering Week," according to the brochure. Teams of engineers have built robots from scratch. The aim of the competition is to try to destroy the opposing team's robots. The last robot remaining will be crowned the winner. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Union.

The Academic & Engineering Ball will take place at the Buffalo Marriott at the commencement of the week. A formal dinner event will be held for the clubs in the academic and engineering councils.

The winner of Engineering Week will be announced at the Academic & Engineering Ball on Friday. The winning groups will receive their prizes at the ball.



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