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At annual event, engineers embrace ‘nerdy’ side

Published: Monday, March 4, 2013

Updated: Monday, March 4, 2013 02:03


Courtesy Laura Burns

Around 300 Tufts students gathered at this year’s Engineering Week Day to promote engineering at Tufts and participate in events like an engineering-themed dating game show.


The School of Engineering on Friday hosted Engineering Week (E-Week) Day, an abridged version of the annual Engineering Week, which featured a series of events to promote Tufts’ engineering programs and celebrate the work of Tufts engineers.

The Engineering Student Council (ESC) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) organized this year’s E-Week Day, which began with engineering-themed games and activities and ended with a live game show called “Date an Engineer,” according to ESC president Laura Burns.

Tufts’ E-Week Day is part of a larger, nation-wide Engineering Week celebrated at colleges and engineering companies last week, Burns, a junior, said. According to the official event website, Engineering Week promotes the contributions that engineers of all ages make to society.

At Tufts, E-Week Day primarily serves to bring engineering students of different majors together, Burns said. 

Since the School of Engineering buildings are separated by major, the engineering community can seem small, according to Burns and SWE President Ashley Martin. They said that E-Week Day reunifies all the fields of engineers.

“As freshmen we’re all together, but once you begin to specialize — even halfway through sophomore year — everyone gets separated,” Martin, a senior, explained. “It’s nice to see all the engineering friends that you made freshman year together at an event because you’re split into different buildings now.”

This year’s event saw several changes from years past, including the decision to condense the event into one night rather than spread throughout a week, Martin said. She said the reasoning behind this change was to increase attendance.

“So many people have always wanted to go to E-Week but just couldn’t make it to all the events, so condensing it into one day made for better attendance,” she said.

Burns said around 300 engineers attended the event. The success of this year’s event led both Burns and Martin to believe the event will remain E-Week Day rather than returning to a weeklong event.

“At [5 p.m.] on a Friday barely anyone has class, no one has that much to do [and] everyone has had huge projects during the week so no one wants to be doing homework,” Martin said. “The lab closes at [5 p.m.], so everyone actually has to leave. It gets those people who stay in the lab forever to actually leave and come to [E-Week Day] too.”

The event still featured popular activities and competitions from past years, though they were compacted into one evening rather than spread out over the week, Burns and Martin said.

Date an Engineer, organized by SWE, resembled a parody of a 1950s game show with an engineering twist, according to Martin. Four engineering contestants sat on stage and answered questions while one blindfolded “bachelorette” chose her engineer based on the contestants’ responses.

“We asked them nerdy questions like ‘If you were an element on the periodic table which one would you be and why?’ and ‘What’s your favorite equation and programming language?’” Martin said. “Everyone gets really into it and embraces the fact that we’re nerdy engineers. It’s very, very fun.”

While engineers primarily attended the activities and competitions, the game show attracted many liberal arts students as well.

“It’s mostly a day to celebrate engineering ... so engineers are kind of who we advertise to, but a lot of liberal arts students come to watch their friends at Date an Engineer,” Burns said.

Other popular activities included the newspaper tower competition, the silk-cocoon race, a life-size Angry Birds game and the annual relay race, which featured a different task to represent each major within engineering.

“You had to pass through a loop without hitting a buzzer — that was electrical, then you had to stack up cups — that was civil — and them knock them down with a paper airplane — that was mechanical,” Burns explained. “Overall I think each activity was really fun and they were all a success.”

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