The Engineers Without Borders University of Texas at Arlington chapter has been hard at work this summer! The evidence is all around you: this newsletter, the first of its kind, and however you are reading it, either through our website or from an email, those are new additions to EWB-UTA too. In addition to obvious and visual developments like the website, a lot of behind-the-scenes work has been taking place. For one, EWB-UTA has increased adoption of Volunteer Village (EWB-USA’s online portal for chapter operations), and is laying the foundation for a project. This newsletter is a summary of our challenges and accomplishments over the summer.
The very first change to occur during the summer break (or right beforehand) was the switching of our leadership. Our new officer team, mostly composed of people who were also officers last year, is passionate, competent, and very communicative, so I am sure that we will be able to accomplish our goals together. We have already had three meetings in the summer, talking about fundraising and plans for the summer, fall and beyond.
One of the main areas of focus during the summer was attracting new members. UTA’s orientations were held online this year, and the activity fairs that allowed organizations to talk to incoming students were held weekly through Zoom calls. Even though we had 1-2 officers host our Zoom call each week, the turnout was unfortunately lower than expected, a concern that was shared by many organizations. We had also discussed how to talk to students in the introduction to engineering class (ENGR 1250) or through each engineering major’s introduction class, both of which will hopefully happen during the fall. During the last week of summer, we filmed a video with Scott, Kristen, and Professor Zaretsky; this video will be instrumental in advertising EWB-UTA through intro classes and other means instead of the in-person methods we are used to doing. You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktaLYmKbS_k
One of EWB-UTA’s largest goals is to eventually have the opportunity to plan and execute a project abroad. For this and other chapter operations to succeed, funding is crucial. Because of that, a lot of attention was placed on fundraising during the summer. As a preliminary step, all of the officers wrote support letters to send out to friends and family. So far, the response from these support letters has been outstanding, and we met our $1,000 goal slightly after the start of the semester. To those who donated: thank you again! We are extremely appreciative and would love to keep you in the loop of what our chapter does with your generous donations. During the fall semester, we plan to focus on getting corporate sponsorships from local engineering companies and businesses.
Planning and Mock Project
The other main thing that we took time to do during the summer break was to plan out what the fall semester would look like for EWB. Obviously, this semester looks much different than any semester beforehand, and there was limited information about what we would be allowed or not allowed come fall from UTA. We made plans assuming best and worst case scenarios, figured out how to host online meetings effectively in an era where the last thing students will want is another online meeting, and we came up withevents that will be possible, useful, and engaging in an online setting. Having online portals for students to find us more important than ever, and we have been hard at work creating a website, updating our UTA organization page (which allows students to find us easily), and becoming more active on Instagram.
Lastly, we also decided to start a mock project in the fall – something that will give us real project experience, real design knowledge and experience, but something that will be fully possible online and will be low risk to us as a very new EWB chapter. This way we can best advertise our chapter to corporate sponsors, and effectively use those sponsored funds for a real project.
Overall, the summer of 2020 has been very busy for the officers of EWB-UTA. We attracted new members, raised funds through support letters, and planned what the fall would look like for our club and for our members. Without the support of you, reading this newsletter and supporting both our club and our officers, this would not be possible or effective. So for your past and continued support, I thank each and every one of you. I hope that you continue to be interested in our progress, and until next time, stay safe and healthy!
The EWB-UTA 2020-2021 Officer Team