We realize some of you thought that we failed when you didn’t see us in class for the first week, but we’re back! We were attending the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students (CFES) annual conference in Hamilton.
The CFES is an organization that facilitates communication, the sharing of ideas, and the exchange of information between member schools across Canada. The CFES provides many services to Canadian Engineering students including organizing the Canadian Engineering Competition, Complementary Education Courses, ProMag (a magazine for Canadian engineering schools), Charity Cookbook (available in Novelties), other conferences and providing a liaison between Engineers Canada and engineering students.
There were presentations by motivational speakers as well as industry experts. Most of the sessions were facilitated by the CFES organizers and dealt with roundtable discussions to share knowledge between schools. One of the sessions, for example, provided information about accreditation. This presentation was put on by Engineers Canada. Some exciting changes are coming to our engineering education and by 2014, students can expect to see changes in the current system to an outcome focused assessment which has been developed with student input.
Another session on the future of engineering looked at how engineering has remained a four/five year program while other professional careers require a much more rigorous time in school (medicine, law for example). Canadian engineering studies are focused mostly on technical components, and to succeed in the workplace most engineers require a strong ability to communicate as well. There was a detailed discussion on how engineering schools don’t currently support students taking minors in other arts or business programs. Students are becoming more interested in supplementing their engineering studies with other subject areas and there is going to be a push for schools to support this type of study path. Some schools (including Waterloo) are also working toward including a co-curricular record on official student transcript that lists extracurricular involvement and volunteer work completed during your undergraduate program.
We also had the opportunity to meet a lot of engineering students from other schools across Canada. Every night had a social event designed to help us mingle with people from across the country; “like how ice cubes mingle with strawberries when you’re making daiquiris in a blender” – Tim Bandura. The night activities included an 80’s themed party, a graffiti party (white t-shirt + permanent markers), a trip to Niagara Falls and two formal banquets. There was plenty of time to enjoy beverages and spend time in the company of others between events and sessions.
We competed in an exposition between all the schools that showcased one aspect of each school that they thought performed particularly well. We are proud to say that our presentation of The Iron Warrior earned our school 3rd position in the contest!
The new CFES National Executive was also elected during the week and we are very happy to announce that the following Waterloo students are representing us very well: Kevin Liu, VP Finance and Administration; Samantha Pinto, International Relations Commissioner; Cara Kennedy, Complementary Education Commissioner; and Michael Seliske, IT Commissioner. We are all very proud of their accomplishments thus far and wish them the best of luck this year – we encourage you to pass along your congratulations to them!
Overall, the week was fast-paced, fun filled, educational, epic, enriching, team building, inspirational, social, and AWESOME!
Tim Bandura, Sean Walsh, Laurel Hoffarth, Mike McCauley and Nadine Ferguson