Scores of engineers flowed into Lafferre Hall bright and early on Nov. 2 ready to work together and promote the next generation of engineering leaders.
The College of Engineering hosted the National Association of Engineering Student Councils (NAESC) Central Regional Conference. Council leaders from Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma traveled to Mizzou excited to exchange ideas and learn about other councils from across the Midwest.
Members went on industry tours at companies around Columbia, received advice from professionals and workshopped how to make their own organizations better.
The entire conference was arranged and run by the Mizzou Engineering Student Council (MESC) which had been planning this weekend for the past year. Becky Gann, one of the conference’s coordinators, looked forward to seeing students collaborate and inspire each other to continue the amazing work they are doing.
“For some younger students, it’s a really good experience to get them excited about possible future leadership opportunities in our council and in the national organization as a whole,” Gann said. “Then maybe for some older members, kind of reigniting basically. I always enjoy coming to these conferences because it makes me realize that we’re not just stuck in a rut.”
MESC’s goal for the conference was to create an educational as well as energetic event. Attendees participated in a team building competition as well as lunch and dinner socials. Kacey Ellwein was the second half of the coordinating team that made it all possible, and he was very proud to have MESC hosting this year.
“We’re doing great things here, and we want to show it off. The council in general is a very good engineering student council. We’d like to show that off and our leadership abilities.”
Whether it’s within MESC or the national organization overall, Ellwein wants progress.
“We want to learn from other people. We want to make sure that we’re bettering each other, we’re learning from each other, we’re growing as a whole [and] as a nation of engineering leaders,” Ellwein said.
And they are doing exactly that.
By thinking outside of the box and coming up with unique solutions, the conference had almost zero waste. Thanks to the work of the Sustainability Committee, MESC had 90 percent diversion from landfill. The mastermind behind this idea, Lydia Schreider, found ways to compost food scraps, get caterers who support local farmers and avoid the use of plastic water bottles.
Schreider said, “Some people don’t think it’s worth it, worth the effort, worth the thought. I get nervous about it, but I’ve had endless support from these people.”
It’s conferences like these that give engineering student councils an environment to take initiative within their schools and encourage others to do the same. MESC President Riley Short was eager for the council chats so he could openly discuss with other students.
“I would say it’s everyone’s favorite part of the conference because you are able to share your ideas and bounce off each other and learn a ton of different stuff. We’re really just trying to accomplish that sharing of new information between councils and [taking] that back to our own.
“It’s really important that we all come together so we can go across the College in general to be leaders within other student organizations [and] in our classes,” Short said.
In her welcome speech to the conference, Dean Elizabeth Loboa showed her enthusiasm and confidence that these students will be positive and effective influences not only in engineering, but throughout all fields.
“Our number one pillar of pursuit that we talk about in our College is educating engineering leaders. It’s the number one thing we do. As a dean, I could not be more proud of the absolutely stellar students we have in this College of Engineering,” she said.