This year, the Workshop for Student Chapter Leaders (WSCL) was held right here in Los Angeles. At only a couple miles away, the USC ASCE student chapter took the conference head-on.
Students were able to attend various seminars ranging from how to get results from a meeting to finding an internship. Furthermore, attendees were also given multiple opportunities to network with Younger Members, Regional Directors and other students as well. From focus sessions geared toward specific chapter problems to messages from the current president elect, Kristina Swallow, and future president elect nominees, there were few chances to catch a break.
In addition to the main events that the conference offered, there were additional opportunities to take advantage of such as the Dream Big Premiere and the LA YMF dinner on top of city hall.
Overall, this conference was a wonderful experience for networking with members from all around the country, and it was also an amazing event to gain knowledge on how to run your student chapter more efficiently.
Last weekend, nine Trojans found themselves on a red-eye flight to Anchorage, Alaska for an amazing experience. Interestingly, four of the members were freshmen.
ASCE’s WSCL, or Workshop for Student Chapter Leaders, is an annual conference geared towards improving student chapters and creating better student officers. This conference is held alongside the Workshop for Section and Branch Leaders (WSBL) and the Younger Member Council Meeting (YMC). In addition to presenting better ways to run a student chapter of ASCE with useful tips and workshops, the conference also provided many opportunities to network with Younger Members and Section and Branch Leaders within the civil engineering field.
After arriving early Friday morning, we tried to get what sleep we could before the busy day ahead of us began. The day started “bright and early” at 9:00 AM (it was still dark) with a warm welcome from Shane Binder from the Committee of Student Members. After spending a few hours listening to speakers upstairs in the chart room , it was time for us ourselves to speak. Up next was the first round of breakout sessions. These open discussions included topics like community outreach, financial management, and member recruitment. The sessions were particularly helpful because it provided the opportunity for other schools to give insight and solutions to a problem that your chapter may be having and vice versa.
Following the breakout sessions came lunch where we had section and branch leaders sprinkled throughout the ballroom. I had quite an engaging conversation with a recently retired transportation engineer who did plenty of work in Orange County and even contributed to the Hyperloop project. During the second half of lunch, we were entertained by a special speaker: Norma Jean Mattei, the future president of ASCE and current president-elect. In addition, for the first time in ASCE’s 164 year history, the two upcoming official 2017 president-elect nominees for ASCE will be women.
Once lunch was over, we separated into specific region breakout sessions where we addressed possible solutions to various civil engineering and sustainability problems. Since the session was region and section specific, this portion of the conference also gave us the chance to meet some of our Younger Members and other students from the Los Angeles area. Something that was introduced in this meeting was ASCE’s new movie Dream Big, coming to theaters in 2017. It is a movie designed to bring awareness to the world of engineering.
Next came another set of student breakout sessions, this time geared toward problems student chapters faced. We concluded the evening with a Q&A segment from ASCE heads, and finally ended with conversations with Alaskan job recruiters. Once the evening session was adjourned, we were free to seek out Alaskan cuisine.
Later that night, we attempted to find dinner, and we ended up pretty much exploring downtown Anchorage. Spencer and I stumbled upon Town Square Park which happened to have a plethora of unique ice sculptures. We ended up eating at Fat Ptarmigan, a restaurant that served wood oven fired pizza with countless toppings. The most interesting of them all was the one that included reindeer sausage. That was a first, and it was quite delicious.
The following morning, we had breakfast with a presentation from Blaine Leonard, the 2010 ASCE president, who presented his Generational Differences slide show. I found it interesting that we live in a time where the workforce is comprised of four different generations with varying values and ideals. WSCL concluded back in the chart room with discussion about upcoming conferences and the location of next year’s WSCL, which will be located right here in Los Angeles.
Despite the six hours of daily sunlight, we definitely made the most of the trip. After the conference was officially over, we did the classic tourist thing: we searched for the perfect picture spots and explored Alaska’s gift shops. Probably the most exciting (and terrifying) thing for a few of us was the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that shook Alaska the day half of us left. Those that remained were safe, and the experience was a reminder that demonstrated just what civil engineers set out to achieve.
Six USC ASCE members represented our chapter this past weekend at the ASCE Workshop for Student Chapter Leaders (WSCL) in Seattle, WA. WSCL brings together students from Regions 8 and 9 of ASCE, representing 36 universities in the western United States. WSCL is part of the multi-regional leadership conference that brings together student chapters, younger member groups, and branch and section leadership.
On Friday we attended several student sessions designed to share knowledge, ideas, and best practices between chapters. A networking lunch offered the opportunity to meet more students as well as professional engineers, before a keynote presentation by ASCE President-elect Mark Woodson. In the afternoon we did break-out sessions to focus on particular topics such as fundraising, membership, and issues specific to smaller chapters.
We also participated in regional break-out sessions, where we met with leaders at all levels from our geographical region (Metropolitan Los Angeles Branch in the LA Section in Region 9). Our primary focus was to strengthen inter-chapter interactions and our coordination with the Los Angeles Younger Member Forum. To that end, we’re hosting a beach day next weekend with UCLA and CSULB.
In the evening we joined students from a couple of other student chapters (UCLA and CSULB) for dinner in Bellevue, before heading to downtown Seattle for the scavenger hunt organized by the Seattle Younger Member Forum. Newly-formed friendships continued strengthening deep into the night.
Saturday started with a networking breakfast accompanied by an extremely insightful presentation about generational issues that are likely to be encountered in current workplace environments. Students were also given an opportunity to do a Q & A session with the top ASCE leadership – the president, president-elect, and executive director. Another networking lunch, a leadership presentation, and several other sessions rounded out the day.
Once the conference was officially over, we still had about 24 hours to explore Seattle. Highlights include Pike Place Market, the Original Starbucks, socializing with students from other ASCE chapters, reconnecting with old friends at the University of Washington and exploring their campus, and seeing the Space Needle.
Overall, WSCL 2015 was an amazing experience. We met countless peers and professionals, explored new ideas for expanding our chapter’s goals and capabilities, and explored an awesome, quickly-growing city. I strongly recommend attending a future WSCL – keep an eye out for details about next year’s conference in Anchorage, Alaska (February 22-23, 2016) and the 2017 conference in Los Angeles.
Four USC ASCE members attended ASCE’s 2014 Workshop for Student Chapter Leaders – Regions 8 & 9 (WSCL) this past weekend in Phoenix, AZ. WSCL is designed to give current and future chapter officers training, while facilitating networking opportunities with other students and professionals, allowing good ideas to be shared between schools.
Conference sessions covered topics from presenting each university’s successes and challenges to discussing how to better connect students from different universities to an overview of the new format for next year’s annual report.
Networking was also a critical component of WSCL. Making connections with other students and with Civil and Environmental Engineering Professionals from ASCE Younger Member Groups and ASCE Section and Branch leaders is important for a variety of reasons. Ideas within and outside of ASCE can be shared, friendships can be formed, and potential career opportunities can be created.
In addition to the student-focused sessions, several events were held with the younger members and section and branch leaders, whose conferences occurred simultaneously. Highlights included several networking events (including meals!), a speech by ASCE President-Elect Robert Stevens, and a Q & A session with ASCE’s President, past President, and President-Elect.
Overall, WSCL was a great experience where we made new connections and formed new and exciting ideas for USC ASCE. If you’re at all interested in a leadership role at USC ASCE, get excited for WSCL 2015 in Seattle, WA!