In school, you absorb copious amounts of information. However, the majority of the learning that happens in university comes from outside the classroom. This year, for the first time, ESSCO will be exploring Engineering education quality across the province. Some topics of investigation include teaching methods, extracurricular support, scheduling of classes, lab quality, mental health, methods of evaluation, diversity, culture, and student experience as a whole.

On October 29, 2016 Waterloo Engineering students took a trip with a bus in a rather unusual fashion. October 29, marked the 40th University of Waterloo Charity Bus, a longstanding Waterloo Engineering tradition which has happened annually since 1977 with the aim of raising money for charity. This year the goal was to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation collecting sponsors before and during the difficult 6.5km pull which saw 14 brave engineering students pull the bus from the University of Waterloo to downtown Kitchener.


The contingent of Waterloo Engineers get a brief break from pulling the bus as gravity takes over on one of the routes many hills. This year the mild weather was welcomed over the rain, ice and snow of previous years.

This year’s Professional Engineers Ontario Student Conference (PEO-SC) was hosted at Carleton University from November 4th-6th. Around 60 delegates met in Ottawa, coming in from across Ontario, for a weekend of professional development, networking, and discover of the engineering profession. The theme of the conference was The Power of the P.Eng., and featured speakers from PEO, Yellow Pages, the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC), Erica Lee Consulting, Carleton University, and the Change Lab.


(left to right) Dakota Plant (VP Finance and Administration), Katie Arnold (VP Services), Jocelyn Lee (VP Communications), Mike Lavdas (President), Jake Lipohar (Co-Chair), and Alex Whitlock (Co-Chair)

Last Wednesday, October 26th, ESSCO executives travelled to Toronto to attend Queen’s Park Day Reception. The reception was hosted shortly after The Government Relations Conference (a joint PEO and OSPE conference), where ESSCO President Michael Lavdas attended and gave a speech on student engagement in policy decision making. At Queen’s Park Day, members of Parliament met with representatives from PEO, OSPE, and university students throughout Ontario, with the goal of discussing the relationship between engineering and policy making.


(left to right) Dakota Plant (VP Finance and Administration), Michael Lavdas (President), Katie Arnold (VP Services), and Jocelyn Lee (VP Communications)

Over the past month, ESSCO Executives have been accepting and reviewing applications for directorship positions. This year, five directorship positions needed to be filled: the Director of the ESSCO Fund, Director of Student Affairs, Director of Diversity, Director of Outreach, and Director of Website Security. More detailed information about the directorship positions can be found on the ESSCO website.

On Friday, September 30th, three ESSCO executives travelled to Ottawa to attend the Engineering Change Lab. The Change Lab is a collaborative social lab that brings together leaders in the engineering field, from leaders in the industry to deans of engineering schools, current engineering students and executives from regulatory bodies. The ESSCO executives were able to attend the Change Lab through the generous sponsorship of Mark Abbott, the secretariat of the lab.


(left to right) past ESSCO president Jake Lipohar, VP Finance and Administration Dakota Plant, VP External for Carleton Engineering Society Yannick Briesbois, Secretariat for the Change Lab Mark Abbott, VP Communications Jocelyn Lee, and President Mike Lavdas

img_20160930_113743325Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Richard L’Abbé Makerspace uOttawa and sit down with some of the instructors there to find out what exactly Makerspace uOttawa is  and what it does. Makerspace is a place on the University of Ottawa campus where students and members of the community alike come together to create things. The facility has 3D printers, arduino boards, laser cutters, an oculus rift headset, 3D scanners and many other devices that allow an individual’s creativity to flourish.

This year’s ESSCO President’s Meeting was hosted by McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario from September 16th to 18th. President’s Meeting is an annual conference that brings together executives from Engineering Societies across Ontario to foster relationships and share best practices.

Directors work with the ESSCO Executive to assist with initiatives and event planning. This year, five directorship positions are available: Director of ESSCO Fund, Director of Student Affairs, Director of Outreach, Director of Diversity, and Director of Website Security. Directorship applications are now open and available here: Applications close in two weeks, on Monday, October 3rd at 9:00AM. For questions regarding directorships, please email the VP Communications or President.

Every year, ESSCO hosts four conferences that member schools attend: President’s Meeting (PM), PEO-Student Conference, First Year Integration Conference (FYIC) and Annual General Meeting (AGM).  All of these conferences are filled with workshops, speakers, plenary meetings and social events that will keep you engaged the entire time. Attending conferences also provides you with plenty of opportunities to network, learn about issues and concerns of other schools, discuss issues or concerns from your school and learn about what it means to be an engineer in Ontario. Conferences also provide an excellent opportunity to make some friends from other schools and learn about their schools traditions and ideas.


Waterloo Delegation at PEO-SC 2015

On Thursday, August 25th, ESSCO executives met with members of PEO to discuss our goals for this year in relation to ESSCO. The meeting is the only in-person meeting that ESSCO and PEO have in order to set the stage for a good working relationship throughout the year.  In attendance was Tracey Caruana, P. Eng (manager of Engineering Intern Programs), Jeannette Chau, P. Eng (manager of Government Liaisons Programs), Howard Brown (PEO Government Relations Consultant), Angel Serah (PEO Government Liaisons Committee student representative), and Michael Mastromatteo (Engineering Dimensions writer/editor).


(Clockwise from top left): Tracey Caruana, P.Eng, Jeannette Chau, P.Eng, Angel Serah, Dakota Plant, Katie Arnold, Michael Lavdas, and Jocelyn Lee

On August 17th to 18th, students, industry leaders, regulators, accreditors, and deans met to develop a shared vision for the future of engineering accreditation in Canada. It was integral for all stakeholders to collaborate, as altering accreditation to best benefit the engineering field has a great impact on everyone. Accreditation in Canada is unique, as it assesses both programs and individual students through inputs (such as Accreditation Units) and outputs (such as Graduate Attributes). Even though there were many different opinions in which direction accreditation should head in, it was clear that everyone was in consensus that the status quo is unacceptable. Adaptation is necessary, and as the labor market in engineering is changing, Canada wants to maintain its reputation for excellence. The goal of the conference was to operationalize a shared vision, improve inter-association mobility, and have all stakeholders heard. While there is still much work to be done in terms of implementing change for Canadian accreditation, the conference was an excellent way to start talks about accreditation in Canada.

Student representatives from CRÉIQ, ESSCO, CFES,  and University of Toronto

Student representatives from CRÉIQ, ESSCO, CFES, and University of Toronto