On June 1-4, the University of Waterloo hosted Engineering Student Societies’ Council of Ontario (ESSCO)‘s Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2017. This Ontario regional conference gathered the new council of VP Externals, introducing them to ESSCO, as well as partner organizations including CFES, PEO, and OSPE. Over 70 delegates met in Waterloo, Ontario for a weekend packed with workshops, keynotes, and panels. The theme of the weekend was “Ideas in Action”, with sessions focusing on taking an idea and turning it into tangible actions, as well as developing the necessary tools to inspire a better engineered future.
Most delegates arrived on Thursday night for a casual meet & greet BBQ at the Columbia Ice Fields, and took part in ESSCO Olympics, a long-time tradition.
On Friday and Saturday, the sessions were organized through three streams: two delegate streams, and a head delegate/VP External stream. Notable delegate sessions on Friday included a Startup Panel featuring local Kitchener-Waterloo entrepreneurs, Diversity Training presented by Engineers of Tomorrow from EngiQueers President Vanessa Raponi, and a Personal Branding workshop from General Electric. In the head delegate stream, the VP Externals received valuable sessions on Motion Writing, How to be a Good Head Delegate, and general updates from the ESSCO Executive Council. Our Ontario Ambassador, Abby Diemer, was also present to provide an introduction to CFES, and inform our member-members on our services.
On Saturday, we were joined by MPP Catherine Fife, who educated us on the important role of engineers in politics. Fife emphasized the unique expertise engineers have and the importance of the engineer’s involvement in public issues such as safety protocols. She urged us to get involved in politics in the following ways:
- Advocate for industry standards through lobbying;
- Focus on promoting the public interest;
- Run for office;
- Connect with your local representatives.
“We have to learn how to fail…failing is the best learning opportunity.”
Furthermore, Fife informed us on the role the local government plays in STEM outreach and diversity in engineering. Fife was followed by an introduction to OSPE by Howard Brown, who explained the licensure process.
Saturday was also highlighted by the Technical Communications workshop run by science writer Tim Lougheed. He presented three rules for engaging readers with your writing: make it simple, make it relevant, and make it memorable. He also presented us with the ugly truth: “nobody has to care or read what you write, but if you don’t tell your story, nobody else will do it.” Later that night, Tim Lougheed also gave a keynote at the closing banquet held at THEMUSEUM on having faith and perseverance. Another highlight from the banquet was meeting the University of Waterloo mascot, the Ridgid Tool. The mascots of our Ontario member schools were presented on stage in celebration of the Tool’s 50th birthday.
Every year at AGM, the new ESSCO Executive Council is also elected. The incoming team will be:
- President: Andrew Cook (McMaster University)
- Vice President Finance and Administration: Cylina El-Bouchi (Carleton University)
- Vice President Communications: Jeffrey Lee (Ryerson University)
- Vice President Services: Ram Ganesh (Ryerson University)
We look forward to working with them closely in the near future.
Thank you to the conference chairs Kieran Broekhoven and Ola Suchon, and their team for organizing a productive weekend. ESSCO AGM is a great opportunity for Ontario engineering students to gain leadership skills, learn about their regional organization, and develop lasting relationships with both industry partners and student leaders.
Head over to our events page to see what conferences we are offering this year, and reach out to your VP Externals to apply. The Conference on Diversity in Engineering will be held at McMaster University on November 17-19.
More photos from the event.