Meet the new Civil Club President! Q & A with Alyssa Schultz

Meet the new Civil Club President! The Department presents a Q & A with Alyssa Schultz.

1. Please share a brief bio with us – who is our new President?

Born and raised in North Vancouver, UBC has always been a dream of mine, although engineering was not always on my radar. My passion for math and science was obvious from childhood, and I also enjoyed teaching others and helping people learn. Along with my role as Civil Club President, I feel that UBC Engineering allows me to pursue all those interests.

When I am off campus, I put a lot of time into healthy living: working out is my greatest stress relief and eating well keeps my brain sharp. When I’m not at the kickboxing gym or yoga studio, I enjoy playing guitar and singing. I always make time for the hobbies I love, especially when school starts getting overwhelming.

2. What excites you most about leading the Civil Club for the 2014-2015 academic year?

This year, I am most looking forward to welcoming our new second year students and helping them develop into the young professionals they will become. In the coming year, they will mature personally and professionally more than they will realize; it is incredibly rewarding to play a role in their development as individuals and as a class. Spending every day with their classmates, they quickly develop a sense of camaraderie and strong friendships that will help each and every one of them succeed at UBC and after graduation. It’s remarkable to watch this community unfold and expand as our junior students become involved with Civil Club and senior students.

3. Can you share any strategic objectives, goals, or plans for change that the Civil Club has for the coming year?

This year, we are welcoming a large class of incoming second year students: nearly 140 people! First term can be a busy time for them with a heavy course load and so many new faces; we’re planning a number of small events and sessions in the Design Studio to familiarize second years with Civil Club. We’re here to make their lives easier and fun! But first, we’ve got to know who they are and how we can help!

Civil Club works alongside an excellent group of other student teams and professional affiliations including Concrete Canoe, Steel Bridge, Concrete Toboggan, Canadian Society of Civil Engineers (CSCE), Structural Engineering Association of British Columbia (SEABC) and many more. We’ve started off the year so far with great communication between these groups. The goal is to continue working together to recruit members and volunteers, as well as organize professional, academic, and social events for Civil Students.

4. Every Civil undergrad is automatically a member of the Civil Club. What can a Civil student do to make the most of their membership – what are the benefits of getting involved, and how can they do so?

The first thing you can do is come to an event! The welcome back BBQ is a great place to start. Our volunteers are happy to answer any of your questions (I promise they don’t bite).  Participating in Civil Club takes nothing more than coming to a few meetings or volunteering for an event. Our meetings are held on Tuesdays at 1:00pm in The Loft (CEME 2215) for 30 minutes on average. We discuss our upcoming events, ideas for future events, campus and EUS news, and how classes are going. It’s an inclusive space for sharing your ideas or voicing concerns about your classes or our campus environment. We’re always happy to welcome new volunteers and are very flexible around your level of commitment. Come to a meeting to find out more!

5. What is the first big Civil Club event of the academic year that Civil students can mark their calendars for and get excited about?

The Civil Club volunteers are organizing a welcome back barbecue on Monday, September 8 at 12:00pm between CEME and the EDC. (UPDATE: This event has been rescheduled to Tuesday, September 9 at 1:00PM.) Everyone is welcome including students, staff, and faculty! We’ll be selling hotdogs and veggie dogs as well as Civil Swag (t-shirts, pins, patches, etc.).

Some other events that students should look forward to include the Halloween costume contest, shoreline clean-up, softball games, pub nights, Beef & Pizza, and the infamous Christmas Party! The Civil Christmas Party (titled A very Civil Christmas) is held in the Design Studio on the last Friday of the fall semester. It is a licensed event where undergraduate students, professors, and TAs can mingle, dance, and take some photos with Santa. This event also hosts our annual popsicle stick bridge building contest!

6. What advice would you give to future student leaders who aspire to be on the executive of the Civil Club or another student organization?

It was barely three years ago that I walked into CEME for my second year orientation. In the first few months of Civil, UBC had changed from this busy, intimidating place into an inclusive environment I am happy to call home. University should feel like home to every one of its students.

For me, that feeling came along with the 500 civil students I spend every day with. These people are more than just your classmates; they are your friends, teammates, and greatest assets to help you have fun and succeed at UBC. Whether you’re looking to be a student leader, or just hoping to make friends, get to know your classmates! They will help pave your way to success, whichever road you choose.

Bonus question: The Faculty of Applied Science is striving to make UBC Engineering a more diverse and inclusive place. What is one thing every Civil student can do to help make the environment in our Department as inclusive as possible?

UBC should feel like home to every one of its students. It should be a place where every student can feel comfortable about being themselves and pursuing their true passions. It should be a place where everyone feels like they have a niche. So what can we do as Civil students to ensure every student in our faculty feels included?

Engage each other. It could be as simple as waving hello to that person you see every morning but have never actually spoken to, or as easy as sitting with someone new in the Design Studio when all the other tables are full. Join a student team or a club and coerce your classmates to do the same. Take the extra five minutes to get to know an unfamiliar group member a little better. Start a Wednesday afternoon coffee enthusiasts group or just smile! We have a lot of gloomy days on campus, and smiles make those dark days a little sunnier.