Engineering students put their skills to work to help non-profits

It is a mutually beneficial relationship that gives students real-world experience while teaching them about being responsible citizens.

First-year students from the UBC Okanagan School of Engineering spent the past semester creating fundraising ideas and project proposals for local not-for-profit organizations to support their engineering and science-related endeavours.

It is a mutually beneficial relationship that gives students real-world experience while teaching them that engineering is about being responsible citizens who serve their communities, says Laura Patterson, UBCO engineering school instructor.

“Community organizations have a variety of needs which engineers and their unique skills can be of service,” Patterson said, adding the project is supported by the Community Service Learning Program at the Kelowna campus.

“Engineers can deliver unique fundraising ideas. Last year, Inn from the Cold took one group’s idea for a ‘Push to End Homelessness’ initiative and raised over $18,000.”

Recently, in a friendly competition, 38 groups of student engineers presented their final fundraising ideas to eight not-for-profit organizations, with each organization selecting a “winning” idea.

Carter Merwin, a first-year engineering student whose group delivered the winning fundraising proposal to the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society, says the experience exceeded expectations.

The group’s proposal idea was selling the naming rights of trestles. It allows the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society to gain the highest revenues with the lowest initial cost, all while having complete control of who they can sell to.

“This opportunity was beneficial as it required real-life problem solving skills in order to help a non-profit organization meet their needs. Further on in our careers we will be put in similar situations where proposals will need to be won,” said Merwin.

“But what was really exceptional about this project is it allowed first-year engineers the opportunity to help sustain something important to the community.”

This year’s participating not-for-profit organizations were:

• Kelowna & District Society for Community Living (KDSCL)

• Kelowna Community Food Bank

• Central Okanagan Heritage Society

• The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA)

• Arion Therapeutic Farm

• Okanagan Science Centre

• Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society

• Community Access Dental Centre.

“Engineering is a profession that holds high respect within the community,” said Patterson.

“The design, communication, research, audience analysis, and business skills that engineers build and develop throughout their careers are invaluable to not-for-profit organizations to solve challenges.

“And it is an engineer’s obligation to serve humanity and share their skills for the public good.”

 

Just Posted

Your Saturday story catch-up

Every Saturday, read our popular stories from the week

Friends of Gable Beach concerned with District of Lake Country’s proposal

Carr’s Landing residents oppose the district’s latest solution to Gable Beach

Greyhound stop in Oyama gets cut

Expanded regional transit replacement option for Lake Country

Heavy snowfall for Coquihalla

Kelowna - Snowfall is expected to continue on the highway until Sunday

Lake Country budget approved

Lake Country’s 2018 Operating and Capital Budget was approved Tuesday night

President praises nearly 1,800 volunteers at B.C. Games

Ashley Wadhwani sits down with the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games President Niki Remesz

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

The way government learn someone has died is getting a digital overhaul

Governments in Canada turned to private consultants 2 years ago to offer blueprint

Bobsleigh team misses Olympic medal finish

Canadian team finishes four-man event 0.84 seconds behind first place, 0.31 seconds from podium

A most delicious competition at the Mall at Piccadilly

Salmon Arm hosts the Best of the Shuswap Pie Baking Contest

B.C. Games: Athletes talk Team Canada at PyeongChang 2018

From Andi Naudie to Evan McEachran there’s an Olympian for every athlete to look up to

Snowboarders sliding into fresh territory at B.C. Games

Athletes hit the slopes for first appearance as an event at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

Most Read