It has been a busy fall term for the Engineering Student Societies’ Council of Ontario (ESSCO), including active discussion with student representatives, and highly active representation with the PEO, OSPE, and the Council of Ontario Deans of Engineering. The product of this work will be evident through National Engineering Month and other public engineering outreach initiatives. It will also be apparent to engineering students through outreach on the topic of new accreditation requirements that affect all engineering students within a year’s time.

In the midst of this fall term, students from York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering hosted the PEO Student Conference in downtown Toronto in November. The conference’s theme, “Engineers Changing the World”, was reflected in presenters who have had a significant impact on their surroundings – often more than they recognize or than we give them credit for, as leadership presenter Drew Dudley presented on Sunday morning.

Student delegates were treated to workshops and discussions on communication, entrepreneurship, and professional development throughout the event. Speakers helped to connect their experiences to their ethical responsibilities as engineers, and students were inspired by unique stories of personal development.

Moving between group discussions throughout the day, the importance of a conference like this becomes extremely obvious. As a student myself, it is not immediately apparent how academia can ignite such passion for the profession. Students will return to their respective schools and leave an impact on their peers, and because of this, ESSCO is proud to facilitate this event every year. Dozens of new, profession-oriented students attended, and were exposed to ESSCO for the first time. ESSCO hopes some of those students will be inspired to take on the planning of this event for the coming year, and perhaps put their own spin on the conference, leaving their impact on another group of young professional students.

ESSCO is sincerely thankful for such a strong connection with the PEO, and with the supporters of the conference who allowed the engineering student hosts to reach their full potential. This support helped to bring a number of notable speakers and unforgettable opportunities to the event.

One particular opportunity came early on Friday at an exclusive Queen’s Park lunch with Soo Wong, MPP – Scarborough Agincourt. This particular lunch came with a rather engaging twist, as students were surprised with an opportunity to role play as advocates and MPP’s, exposing them directly to the world of political representation and their power as future professionals to impact policy and benefit society. We have the PEO Government Liaison Program to thank for this opportunity.

Moving forward, ESSCO learned a lot from this conference, including some best practices for its own event management. Reviews from the social events were outstanding, as students were treated to culture and night-life at the Royal Ontario Museum, and to the improv comedy of Second City. Planning for the First Year Integration Conference in early February is well underway and will be hosted at Carleton University in Ottawa. We continue to seek industry and professional support in facilitating the extra-curricular growth of engineering student leaders. I invite engaged readers to contact me at president@essco.ca if they are interested in supporting an event, or finding out specifically how ESSCO is delivering otherwise-unavailable experiences to the Ontario students it represents.

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