It’s been a very busy few months for Engineers Without Borders here in Birmingham. As I write this now we’re running around putting the final touches to our termly fundraiser ‘Pear Jam’, a charity band night showcasing local musical talent!
We’ve also been preparing ourselves physically for the demands of the EPS Charity Football tournament! Sadly we missed out on the win but we had a fantastic day and all in the name of a good cause. The day was organised by Dan Luckett, Director of Volunteering for MathSoc (Mathematics Society) and aimed to raise money for The Prince’s Trust. This event was the first of its kind and had been highly anticipated for weeks. The players couldn’t wait to get on the pitch for such a good cause! With teams from MathSoc, Poynting Physical Society EESESoc, JUGS (James Watt Undergraduate Society) and EWB competition was tight. PPS came through as winners (unfortunately!) but we raised £248.50 which takes the overall fundraising total for The Princes’ Trust to £1,000!
Like I said, we’ve had a very busy time since the turn of the New Year. This term was kicked off with a very successful ‘TED Talks and Pizza” event that saw us defy the annual lull in participation we normally suffer in January. We’ve also had some more casual events to get people interested in the Society on a social level, more outreach workshops, and our Cameroon Catalyst project is thriving.
Now well and truly into its second year, the partnership with Cameroon Catalyst has seen EWB Birmingham team up with some chartered engineers working for Arup who are currently critically evaluating the work the design team has done. It’s an exciting time for everyone involved!
This term has also seen the rise of a few more ambitious events. On 4 February a group of us headed down to visit the Oxfam Logistics Warehouse in Bicester. It was a truly unique experience that gave a number of our volunteers an insight into how Oxfam operate on a day to day basis as well as what challenges they face. I’d thoroughly recommend it as a day trip!
More recently, we invited Professor Richard Williams, Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, to come and talk to us about the work he does with cryogenic energy storage systems. We had another excellent turnout and had some really interesting discussions about Professor Williams’ work and what he hopes can be achieved in the future. We were very lucky to have Professor Williams share his work with us and we hope it leads to further collaborations between us and the College in the future!
As we talk about events that have passed we must also look forward to events we have coming up on the horizon! As I mentioned earlier, tonight is our termly charity band night and we’re hoping to raise a lot of money for the society’s future activities. Last year this event won ‘Creative and Exceptional Event’ at the EPS Societies’ Awards so it should be a fun night for all! Looking beyond the end of term, however, sees our largest event of the year, our trip to the Centre for Alternative Technology. We visited C.A.T. two years ago and it was one of the major reasons I continue to be involved with EWB today. We’ll be spending 2 nights in ‘Eco-cabins’ powered only by renewable means and spend 3 days exploring the local area (and the local pubs!), the centre and engaging in a number of practical workshops. All this was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Hands Up! Alumni Fund and we’re hugely grateful to all the members of the alumni community who have made this year’s trip possible. We’ll let you know how it goes!
Finally, it’s that time of year again when we have our Annual General Meeting. Just over a week ago the current committee and myself handed over our roles to the future of EWB Birmingham. I’d like to congratulate everyone on the new committee and wish them luck for the years to come! I’d like to wish luck, in particular, to our new President James Powis! The past year has been a massive success in terms of membership (which now exceeds 100!), events and outreach. None of this would have been possible without the outgoing committee and I’d like to thank them all for their hard work and wish all those people graduating every future success! From a personal point of view, EWB has been my life for 3 years now and leaving will be a very strange feeling! I’d like to thank everyone that continues to be involved with the society and wish EWB Birmingham all the best when I’m finally gone!
To next year!
David Streather, Outgoing President