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  • Bethany Hillman ('24)

Showcasing Different Engineering Organizations at GobblerFest

EF members Alex Petsopoulos and Hayley Stout.
EF members Alex Petsopoulos and Hayley Stout. Photo / Virginia Tech College of Engineering Facebook Page

On September 4th, Virginia Tech’s annual Gobblerfest started up, showcasing over 700 booths for organizations and opportunities. For roughly three hours, students could walk around and explore different clubs, while also taking advantage of performances, rides, and attractions. Among the expansive sea of tents and poster boards, there were plenty of engineering-related organizations showing off their opportunities.

Engineers Without Borders is an organization that seeks to improve the quality of life through beneficial engineering projects. Their team meets every week to discuss, plan, travel, assess, and implement their projects for Uganda, Nicaragua, and Kenya. For their project in Uganda, they focus on building and implementing solar panels to foster electricity. In 2019, their project helped to finish a 10-panel solar power system for St. Michael’s Primary school. They also fundraised $1,300 for water tests to test the school’s well. Recently, they’re working remotely to help place a solar-powered well for the community surrounding the school. This winter break, the organization is planning to travel to Nicaragua to help the community by creating a seed bank that stores seeds and keeps them safe in case of droughts. By using CAD, they are planning on designing a seed bank that is 8m x 10m for the community that has about 300 people. Although you don’t have to be an engineering major to join the team, for this project, they will be looking for any civil or structural engineers. The newest project that the team will take on is a water and sanitation plan for communities in Kenya. They will have to design, while taking into account the location and accessibility of possible resources, a system that can provide reliable, clean water all throughout the year. They’ll look at different kinds of wells and pumps to determine which design is best for the community. All of their projects focus on implementing equitable, environmentally friendly, and economically sustainable designs.

Engineering in the Arts is an interdisciplinary network of students who are both interested in engineering and the arts. Engineering students don’t have to be solely focused on STEM, and this organization provides a creative outlet for those students that want to explore more. Arts and Engineering students work together on yearly projects, and this club also provides great opportunities and connections that will help students improve their experience at Virginia Tech.

The Society of American Military Engineers is open to anyone who is interested in engineering in the military. This semester, their team is working on creating a trebuchet. Global Engineering Ambassadors help the Global Engineering office reach out to engineering students through initiatives and marketing different activities and opportunities. They are a select group of students that spends at least 10 hours each semester volunteering and helping out the office. They complete tasks, such as running information booths at the Global Education fair and the Global Education Resource fair. If you’re in Galileo or Hypatia, you might have seen them give presentations. They also give presentations for engineering classes on the different global opportunities Virginia Tech offers.

A bright Sunday morning at the drillfield.
A bright Sunday morning at the drillfield. Photo / Nidhi Chopdekar

The Graduate Engineering Mechanics Society is an organization that centers around students who aspire to have a degree or pursue research in the engineering mechanics graduate program. Throughout the year, they offer social and professional development events for its members. This also helps create a community of support and collaboration, specifically around engineering mechanics. Furthermore, the organization fosters communication between students and faculty and acts as an advocate for students if they have any issues or concerns. Also facilitating communication, the organization seeks to reach out and work with the Society of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, so the two graduate programs within the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics can collaborate.

Gobblerfest crowds.
Gobblerfest crowds. Photo / Virginia Tech

The Theme Park Engineering and Design organization is open to anyone who is interested in roller coasters and theme parks, even if someone has only been on a couple of rides. Throughout the year, the club has exciting events, such as visiting different parks like Kings Dominion or Disney World. They also have guest speakers, networking events, and professional development opportunities. They also compete in design competitions and host model building contests. There are plenty of opportunities within the club to expand your network and meet new people, while also having a shared interest in the thrill and excitement of roller coasters.

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