Student group looks to expand services to undergraduate community

Ontario’s engineering student association is hoping to advocate more effectively and expand its services to the province’s nearly 28,000-strong engineering undergraduate community.

At an August 14 planning meeting with PEO officials, executives with the Engineering Student Societies’ Council of Ontario (ESSCO) discussed how the regulator can assist the student organization in promoting awareness of PEO and its Student Membership and Engineering Intern programs.

ESSCO is an association representing engineering student societies from 15 Ontario universities. PEO has been supporting ESSCO since 1998, primarily by sponsoring an annual student conference, this year scheduled for November 3 to 5 at Ryerson University in Toronto.

The theme for the 2017 conference is “Mission, innovation and ideas.”

The ESSCO executive for the coming year includes President Andrew Cook of McMaster University, Vice President of Finance and Administration Cylina El-Bouchi of Carleton University, Vice President of Communications Jeffrey Lee of Ryerson, and Vice President of Services Ram Ganesh also of Ryerson.

Much of the discussion at the August 14 meeting centered on strengthening ESSCO’s bonds with PEO and the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, the profession’s advocacy and member services organization.

“My goals for the year are grounded in organizational development,” ESSCO President Andrew Cook said in an interview. “I will be focusing on creating platforms for our students to research and prepare strong stances on issues facing engineering students. These topics will come from the council, however, my interests include experiential learning, affordable and transparent tuition, and mental health awareness and support.”

Cook also says ESSCO needs to improve its institutional memory. “I would like engineering students to have a unified and researched voice across the province so we can have a long-term impact that extends past the terms of myself and my colleagues,” he adds.

The new ESSCO president also wants to make better use of ESSCO’s four directorship positions to provide additional services to the engineering student community.

PEO staff attending the planning meeting included Manager of Engineering Intern Programs Tracey Caruana, P.Eng., and EIT/Student Programs Coordinators Adeilton Ribeiro, P.Eng., and Sami Lamrad, EIT.

During the meeting, PEO staff outlined the regulator’s basic functions, and offered details of the Student Membership and Engineering Intern programs. Much of the discussion also focused on preparation for the upcoming PEO/ESSCO Student Conference, and how PEO and ESSCO can continue working together to promote the benefits of student membership.

Other priorities for ESSCO include progress on previous strategic objectives, analyzing the results of a final-year student survey, PEO support of the annual ESSCO essay contest, and how PEO can assist the organization generally with its objectives.

PEO’s Student Membership Program website (www.engineeringstudents.peo.on.ca) is an ideal way to maintain contact between the regulator and engineering undergraduates in Ontario. The free program allows students to stay attuned to regulatory and licensing issues, and maintains a firm connection to the province-wide professional engineering community.

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