The Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers at the University of Houston (UH) was established in 1953 to actively support student growth as they go from college freshmen to EITs and make the transition to the world of civil engineering. Our mission is still to create a welcoming environment that not only offers career opportunities and insight into the Civil Engineering profession but also provides technical understanding through challenging civil engineering competitions. As with many other organizations and events, 2020 was a damper on our plans at ASCE UH. Many of our events were canceled, and those that were not had to be pushed online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020-2021 officer board did a great job of having virtual events to support students during the 2020-2021 academic year. With companies such as RS&H, Elevation Land Solutions, Stantec, HR Green, and many more, the officer board gave students the opportunity to network with professionals and get firsthand information on job opportunities in the industry. The 2020-2021 academic year saw an average of 34 students attending general meetings and an average of 30 students attending events overall, including general meetings, information sessions, site tours, and volunteering events.
The new 2021-2022 officer board saw an opportunity after their election to bring back a sense of community and support to ASCE UH. With the re-opening of college campuses and in-person events being approved, the board had the goal of hosting as many student events as possible to build students’ foundations in the job market and civil engineering field. The goals of this year’s board were to rebuild the member body of ASCE UH and expose those members to many engineering companies and professionals. This was done through general body meetings, information sessions, social events, and constant engagement with the member body to keep a feeling of community in the organization. The first meeting saw the most interaction with 56 students being on a Zoom call due to the nature of pandemic at the time. Overall, the meetings for Fall 2021 to present-day 2022 saw an average of 49 students in the meetings and/or sessions, and for other events, we saw an average of 46 students in attendance. Students are not only encouraged to attend meetings but also to interact with meeting sponsors and get to know the company. This is one of the ways in which we help students build connections in the industry and get used to speaking with potential employers.
Apart from meetings, we also encourage student interaction with professionals through information sessions and professional development events. ASCE UH hosted 5 information sessions, 2 tours, and many professional events with different companies from different backgrounds in 2021 to offer a variety of fields in the industry to students. Resume review fairs were also hosted by the student chapter to have students meet and speak to a professional in the industry regarding their resume and how to improve it for their job hunt. Our organization also made efforts to publicize ASCE Houston Branch meetings to our members and encourage participation. Through the support of AmeriTex Pipes & Products and the Texas Concrete Pipe Association, we were able to give many members the opportunity to attend Houston branch meetings (many for the first time), and network with professional engineers in Houston.
The officer board of ASCE UH remains excited and committed in the upcoming semester to continue our mission to connect the civil engineering students at the University of Houston with the professional setting. We are also excited and happy to host the first-ever ASCE Region 6 Student Symposium which will now see participation from various ASCE student chapters across Oklahoma and New Mexico in addition to Texas and Mexico. The event will be held from March 30 to April 2, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Many other events are also planned for the present semester to encourage student participation and interaction with professionals in the industry.