How to Bring Fun to Your Student Section


Being a part of ASME can help you expand your network and succeed in your classes. However, student section meetings don’t all have to be about professional development. Bringing together students to relax, have fun, and compete can really improve the student section experience. Here are five fun activities you can do at your student section.
1. Impromptu Design Challenge
There’s nothing that engineers love more than a little competition. For an impromptu design challenge, all you need is a problem statement, a couple of constraints, and some excited mechanical engineers. If you’re on a tight budget you can do something as simple as a paper airplane contest. Feeling like upping the challenge, maybe try a spaghetti bridge competition or a mousetrap car.
Regardless of the competition, make sure that you take plenty of pictures, have impartial judges, and encourage everyone to maintain good sportsmanship. Prizes can range from bragging rights to gift cards. At the end of the day, the goal is to encourage teamwork, collaboration, and creative thinking.
“My student chapter held a gingerbread house competition in collaboration with other organizations on campus before finals week. It was a great way to get in the holiday spirit, relieve some pre-finals stress, and get to know some people outside of ASME.”
-Macy Grissom, Student Chapter Chair, Tennessee Tech 2017-2018. Macy is also a member of the ASME E-Fests Student Advisory Panel
“We recently held a paper airplane challenge. The challenge was for the student members to think of engineering principles to back up the task of making a sheet of paper travel the furthest. This challenge is a really cheap way to get members involved and have a great time. All of the materials can be bought at a dollar store and it’s a way your members can be creative and goofy in a productive way.”
-Samantha Hoover, Milwaukee School of Engineering Student Chapter, Chair 2018-2019
2. Mixer
Engineering classes often follow a pattern due to prerequisites, semester offerings, and classroom availability. This, however, can limit the number of people in your college that you get to meet. A great way to bring together students and foster more socializing is by throwing a mixer.

The mixer can be themed according to a holiday such as a Halloween bash or a Thanksgiving potluck, but the true goal should be to encourage students to interact. Facilitate this by bringing in music, games, and even a cool photo booth. Costume contests, dance-offs, or mini competitions can add additional excitement. If you running low on funds, you can even turn this into a fundraising opportunity by charging a small cover fee. If an event is a hit, maybe make it into a yearly event people look forward to.
“Professors are a wealth of knowledge and can help students with research projects or land that dream internship, yet students rarely meet or interact with professors outside of the classroom. Our chapter would often throw a Bowling with the Professors event, to bring students and professors together to socialize and throw some strikes! This was a great way for students to de-stress, have fun and interact with professors.”
Isabel Gutierrez, Student Chapter Chair, Cal Poly Pomona 2017-2018. Isabel is also a member of the ASME E-Fests Leadership Program
 3. Take a Trip
College students often find themselves juggling homework, lab reports, design projects, jobs, internships, and social obligations. All of this pressure can sometimes get to students and it can become difficult to stay motivated. What better way to have some fun than to take a trip away from the university and into real-world engineering? Scheduling a tour with a nearby company, plant, or even landmark will give your students the chance to take a break and also learn more about how engineering is applied outside of the classroom.
Don’t have any connections outside of your university? Identify a couple of nearby companies or places you’d be interested in touring. Draft an email explaining your student section, your expected attendance, and why this tour would mean a lot to you. Companies are always looking for ways to engage young engineers or give back.
Once you secure a tour, make sure to have advanced sign-ups, transportation plans, and to coordinate directly with your tour contact. If you’re worried about people canceling last minute, consider a $5 seat saving deposit. This will encourage students to follow through with their commitment.
“By keeping connected to chapter alumni, we were able to create a Universal Studios behind the scenes tour open to only our members. Top Universal engineers gave members a backstage pass on the engineering behind Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, one-on-one interactions with hiring personnel, and experience the magic of the ride! Tours not only give the students a chance to see a different side to engineering but allow clubs to branch out and reconnect with alumni.”
Isabel Gutierrez, Student Chapter Chair, Cal Poly Pomona 2017-2018. Isabel is also a member of the ASME E-Fests Leadership Program

4. Volunteer 
Nothing brings together a student section quite like community involvement. Whether it’s volunteering at a local shelter, helping out at a FIRST robotics competition, or simply holding a food/clothing drive.

Identifying a single cause you want to support or switching it up each month, giving back can be a great way to bring together your student section and make an impact on your community.
“At PSU we have become involved with a local CC4H FIRST Robotics team. We have developed this to be a year-long sponsorship/ mentoring opportunity for our members. Whether it is going out to a build day to help out and talk with students to providing them with supplies it is a great way to engage in younger students and excite them for what is to come if he or she decides to study engineering.”
Jennifer Lynskey, Student Chapter Treasurer, Penn State 2017-2018. Jennifer is also a member of the ASME E-Fests Leadership Program
5. Invite Your Neighbors
Collaborating with other engineering students is the best way to celebrate being an engineer. Odds are, there is at least one other engineering college in your area and it’s a great way to show partnership by working with them. Elevate any of the above ideas of a mixer, competition, tour, or even volunteer activity by inviting local universities to join your fun.
“My co-president Young Jae and I hosted an intercollegiate mixer between NYU, Stevens Institute of Technology, Columbia University, and Cooper Union. We wanted to create a community for mechanical engineers in NYC in order to cultivate creativity, collaboration, and analytical thinking. And it all just started from what seemed like a crazy idea. It just goes to show that anyone at any time can truly make anything happen as long as you are proactive and willing to initiate change. So put yourself out there and I promise that you will meet some of the most incredible people and make friendships of a lifetime.”
Victoria Wang, Columbia University ASME Student Chapter, Co-Chair 2018-2019
“Collaboration is the heart of every engineering project. The very best ideas are fostered through conversations where participants build upon each other’s ideas. So, my goal for my club has always been to bring mechanical engineers together, on and off-campus. Through hosting social events, such as mixers and peer-insight, we aim to establish a foundation for a network, which continues to grow and connect members to useful resources.”
Young Jae Ryu, Columbia University ASME Student Chapter, Co-Chair 2018-2019
Valentina Alayon is ASME’s Coordinator, Student & Early Career Engagement & Experience.

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