Head Back to School with Your Student Membership

September 1, 2015
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ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith

Each spring the Construction Institute holds Student Days to bring top engineering students from across the country together with potential employers who are seeking new talent. The program is competitive, with only 30 students chosen. This year’s project involved putting together a construction-bid proposal and formal presentation for a real-life seawall in Long Beach, CA. The six teams had three days to create the plan.

As ASCE News reported, “This year’s event … was a little different, though. This year’s students took the intensity and turned it into camaraderie. They competed, yes, but they also formed fast friendships, made professional connections, and had lots of fun.”

Reading this brought me back to my days as a student. In 1985, when I was a civil engineering student at the University of Virginia, a professor encouraged me to join an ASCE Student Chapter. I’m sure glad I did. I learned more about civil engineering, made lifelong friendships, and had a great time.

Students from around the country gathered in Orange County for the ASCE Construction Institute's Student Days weekend. PHOTO: CI Staff

Students from around the country gathered in Orange County for the ASCE Construction Institute’s Student Days weekend. PHOTO: CI Staff

Unlike when I joined as a student, an ASCE student membership is now free. Your membership provides you with many tools to help you jump into the civil engineering profession and connect with your peers through the more than 300 Student Chapters around the world.

Put your classroom knowledge to the test with ASCE-sponsored competitions such as National Concrete Canoe Competition and National Student Steel Bridge Competition, apply for an ASCE scholarship or fellowship, or get help finding that first engineering job using Career Connections. And, you get a free membership with one of ASCE’s Institutes. These are just a few of the many opportunities and benefits that are yours with your membership. Don’t forget that you still need to renew every year, even though your student membership is free.

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In case you’ve missed these, catch up on several notable activities around the ASCE community:

The Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute debuted at the ASCE 2015 Pipelines conference in Baltimore. Our ninth specialty Institute will serve civil engineers and other professionals in pipelines, geomatics, utilities, and surveying. Learn more about UESI and its launch; or read the Institute’s mission and join.

Infrastructure #GameChangers, a report and associated website identifying top trends in energy, freight, transportation and water, and the ways they are transforming how infrastructure is designed, planned and built, has been compiled and launched by our Government Relations team in the nation’s capital. Explore more than 30 examples at ASCEgamechangers.org.

We’ve created a Global Strategy Council to mount a coordinated effort to answer the growing demands of civil engineers around the world who are looking to ASCE for professional expertise and career enhancement. As approved by the Board of Direction, the council will work to carry out a series of goals established by a task committee. Explore the goals and how the council will implement them.

The first edition of our new ASCE Convention will draw civil engineers from across the country and around the world to New York City. This successor to our annual conference will explore the state of the industry and profession with a thought-provoking, multidisciplinary program. Technical sessions and tours of significant infrastructure, including work on the new Second Avenue Subway, the replacement Tappan Zee Bridge, a new cable-stayed bridge, and more can earn as many as 24 PDHs. The Distinguished Lecture series is returning with three authors delivering engrossing talks, and opening keynote speaker Luke Williams is an authority on business innovation leadership. Registration has opened; sign up now and save as much as $200. Check out the new ASCE Convention.

The 2015 Member Referral Drive is on. You already know being a Society member has many rewards. Talk about them with colleagues, alums, and professional friends who aren’t members, and if they join ASCE based on your recommendation, you’ll be entered to win ASCE-branded prizes and other rewards, including a possible $500 cash prize. The more peers you persuade to join, the greater your chances of winning the big prizes. Get started.

Now in production for a 2017 release: Dream Big. ASCE’s giant-screen documentary on engineering seeks a diverse group of teenagers with the spirit to dream big to solve global challenges, and the budding engineering talent to make those dreams real. If you know a teen like that, nominate her or him to be featured as a Dream Big! Young Innovator. Send a brief biography to dreambigpartner@asce.org, along with a portrait photo (and/or one in action) and a note on why you think they qualify.

If you lead a government agency, our Public Agency Peer Review Service provides a fresh perspective on what’s working and what’s not, with suggested improvements and how to implement them. Volunteer peer reviewers, including experienced public agency leaders, provide a confidential, customized evaluation, including insights into how other organizations have addressed similar challenges. Write to professional@asce.org with any questions. Explore the program.

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