The University of Regina’s Engineers Without Boarders (EWB) chapter received an honorable mention at the recent 2013 EWB National Conference in Calgary.
“We were honored as one of the best chapters under the team building category,” said Frank Elechi, a third-year electronic systems engineering student and co-president of the University of Regina chapter of EWB.
Last year, the University of Regina chapter graduated 10 of its executive leaders, leaving as many seats to be occupied by new leaders.
But the transition between the two executive teams was so smooth that that the chapter did not suffer any hiccups as a result of the changes in leadership, hence the honorable mention at the National Conference, which took place from Jan. 12 to Jan. 14.
Andrea Elle, a second year environmental engineering student, who is co-president with Elechi, was thrilled for this recognition of their hard work, especially since “turnover in every EWB university chapter is such a big issue, as people leave within three or four years, and that transfer of knowledge is definitely key to a healthy and well running chapter,” she said.
“We formed transition teams consisting of the person or people leaving a role, and the person or people coming into that role. We had a transition challenge that ran throughout the entire semester where the teams would have to complete team building tasks every week.” – Ali Molaro
Part of what made the transition between the two teams very successful was the strategic plan devised by the outgoing executives to ensure that the incoming executives were well prepared for their new leadership roles.
“We formed transition teams consisting of the person or people leaving a role, and the person or people coming into that role. We had a transition challenge that ran throughout the entire semester where the teams would have to complete team building tasks every week,” said Ali Molaro, who was the chapter’s president last year, and is now an environmental scientist with Matrix solutions, which does environmental remediation work with the oil fields.
Molaro said the weekly activities ranged from hard skills, like how to plan an event, to simpler ones, like remembering to ask yourself “why are we planning this event?” she said.
The outcomes from the challenge were then discussed during the chapter’s weekly meeting in order to keep all teams appraised with the others’ progresses.
But, Molaro was quick to praise the current chapter, emphasizing, “the fact that they were mentioned in this category means that they did a really great job of embracing the challenge and creating a positive space to get the work done,” she explained.
One of the main goals that Elechi and Elle are working towards accomplishing during their leadership term is making the university more fair trade friendly.
“Part of Chartwells’ contract with the university is that they should be selling more fair trade products on campus, but they are not doing that to the fullest,” explained Elechi
Fair trade products would include items like coffee and chocolate processed from cocoa bought from subsidized farmers in developing countries.
Photo courtesy of EWB Regina