The Canadian Federation of Engineering Students (CFES) Congress is the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the CFES and is hosted by a different member society each year. The 51st edition of Congress was hosted by McGill University in Montreal from January 2-7, 2019. CFES Congress is a national engineering student conference that provides a platform for engineering student leaders from across Canada to help improve the engineering communities and programs at their own schools, and advocate for engineering students on a national level. Every congress has a theme that directs the discussion, congress 2019’s theme was ‘21st Century Engineering: Social Responsibility’.
Students attended presentations and workshops in one of four streams: Leadership, Engineering Society, VP External, and Theme. These sessions equipped students to become better student leaders, bring new ideas to their respective engineering society, and better represent the engineering profession. Sessions were conducted by industry professionals, professors and other student leaders, and included panels, round-table discussions and presentations on a wide range of topics, including ‘Tech for Good- Getting Started with Social Entrepreneurship’, ‘The Multidisciplinary Nature of Engineering’, ‘Empathy in Industry 4.0’, ‘Future and Opportunities in Engineering’ and ‘You, Leaders of the Cybersecurity Era.’
Keynote speakers included Mark Abbott, founder of Engineering Change Lab, Sandro Perruzza, CEO of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, and Jim Nicell, Dean of Engineering of Engineering at McGill University.
The most important outcome of the conference was starting a discussion on social responsibility in industry and the part that engineering can play in that discussion. To that end, all student leaders in attendance are expected to take their experiences back to their engineering societies and educate other engineering students as well as incorporate these concepts of sustainability into the initiatives, committees, and student clubs they are involved in.
The General Assembly, attended by voting representatives from each member society, discussed several important issues concerning the CFES and its governance including motions to, among other things, ensure the long-term financial stability of the CFES, create an observer status for societies wishing to join the CFES, and improve representation of both official languages at CFES activities.
Thank you to everybody that made Congress 2019 an engaging and memorable experience; and a special thank you to all our wonderful speakers for taking the time to attend Congress 2019 and share their knowledge and experience with our delegates!