Going into E-Fest West, no one could have expected the amount of collaboration and growth that would take place over the span of three days. As the newly appointed student chapter president, I became a member of the E-Fest planning committee at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas at the beginning of the Fall semester. In my time at UNLV, I had been a part of organizing multiple big events for donors but nothing exceeding 100 attendees, so from the first meeting I knew that this was going to be a challenge.
The goal was to create a one of a kind experience for engineering students allowing them to compete, expand their knowledge and make lasting connections. We faced dozens of conference calls between our UNLV committee and ASME Headquarters in New York. Even with the time difference, we were all determined to make this event the best experience for the hundreds of students we knew would soon be on campus. In the end, I think we were extremely successful in accomplishing that goal.
During the event, students would have the opportunity to meet students from across the world, network with industry professionals, and participate in a variety of competitions. From Day 1, the atmosphere of E-Fest was amazing. Everyone was so excited to be there, and they were having a blast. Hosting an event 1 mile from the Las Vegas Strip the weekend of March Madness and St.Patrick’s day we were very concerned about student attendance. But students were having so much fun that they were on campus until closing of day every single day.
Outside of the fun elements, E-Fest had a jam-packed schedule. E-Fest was the first event to bring together all of ASME’s student competitions. Old Guard, Human Powered Vehicle, and Student Design Competition all took place during the course of the weekend. Being able to observe some of the brightest minds at work was absolutely amazing.
My role during E-Fest was to facilitate the student experience. This was done both on stage but also behind the scenes. As the primary Emcee, I made sure to let students know what was occurring whether it was a session, competition, or social activity. Being on stage in front of 650+ students was a little intimidating at the beginning, but the enthusiasm of the crowd kept me motivated throughout the experience.
Behind the scenes, we had an amazing group of students, faculty, and staff assisting in every duty imaginable. The UNLV Engineering community came together to ensure the success the event and it was my job as the student chair to manage all the volunteers. I honestly could not have survived this weekend without the help of all of those amazing volunteers and the sense of community and support that was felt that weekend is unimaginable. UNLV Students and Silver State ASME Members assisted in every part of the weekend. People were getting up at 4 am to set up haybales. Others were running around helping teardown and setup tables. Students volunteered to judge and run the competition elements. Over the course of the weekend, I got so many compliments from attendees about how enjoyable the entire experience had been and none of this would have been possible without those who gave up an entire weekend to make it so.
As an engineering student, attending E-Fest made me feel like I was a part of a much bigger engineering community. Having the ability to meet with other engineering students and learn about their experiences was amazing. Hearing the stories from our guest speakers was inspiring. Most engineering work is done in collaboration and being able to interact with, so many people of different background really put my future as an engineer in perspective. Overall, the E-Fest experience was something that I was so proud to be a part of. I gained many lifelong friends and walked away from the whole experience a much better-rounded engineer.