Virginia Tech's Student Engineers' Council receives two university awards

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 30, 2004 – The Student Engineers' Council (SEC) has received the 2004 Outstanding Program of the Year and the 2004 Outstanding Service to Campus Award.

The Outstanding Program of the Year Award and the Outstanding Service to Campus Award are two of 10 University Student Leadership Awards given by Virginia Tech's Department of Student Activities in the Division of Student Affairs to recognize outstanding members, extraordinary achievements by an organization, advisers, volunteerism, and service-learning experiences.

The SEC serves as an umbrella organization for all of Virginia Tech's student engineering organizations. Through the organization of such events as the Engineering Expo, the Engineering Leadership Conference, and Engineers' Week, the SEC seeks to enhance engineering students' educational experience by preparing them for work.

SEC was nominated for Virginia Tech's Outstanding Program of the Year Award for its annual Engineering Exposition, a technology showcase and job fair held every fall that is open to all engineering students and members of other curriculums on campus. The number of companies at the Expo for the last eight years has been around 200, making it one of the largest student-run events of its kind in the country.

"The organizational skills of the SEC students working on this event are superb, and when we receive evaluations from the companies, they are always complimentary," said Lynn A. Nystrom, faculty adviser for the SEC and director of News and External Relations.

With the engineering student body representing more than one-fourth of Virginia Tech's students, the Engineering Expo is important to the College of Engineering in terms of helping its students find employment, Nystrom said. The Expo also is a great service to companies that are interested in recruiting on campus.

The SEC receives no funding from the university. Instead, the fees companies pay to attend the SEC-run Engineering Expo provide most of the SEC's budget. In 1997, the continuous success of the Expo prompted the SEC council to begin using the Expo revenues for philanthropic purposes.

Since, the SEC has awarded $191,000 the Student Assistance Center, the Frith Freshman Design Engineering Lab, the virtual corporation, the Freshman Engineering Program, renovations of engineering classrooms, and the student mentoring program.

Several years ago, the SEC decided to create a "slush fund," with the amount put in each year determined by the profit margin from the Engineering Exposition. Once the amount is decided, the individual member student organizations are eligible to apply for a grant to help finance one of their events.

The continuing support the SEC provides for other programs at the university made the organization especially deserving of the Outstanding Service to Campus Award, Nystrom said. "The SEC intends to support other such projects where the funding is needed and deserved. When resources for higher education are as limited as they have been in recent years, this work of the SEC students is immensely helpful to the college."

The SEC is a member of the National Association of Engineering Student Councils (NAESC), which awarded the SEC the Best Council Award in 2001. The SEC's next Engineering Expo will take place in September on Virginia Tech's campus.

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college's 5,600 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a "hands-on, minds-on" approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 2,000 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 170 academic degree programs.