This year certainly hasn’t been normal for anyone, but as a committee we’ve tried to ensure Engineers Without Borders’ members have still had a great experience.

We started this term with our successful Welcome Event that resulted in the official sign up of 73 members! Although times were different, we were pleased to have so many people keen to find out about EWB and take part in our outreach. We were also happy to be present at the virtual Guild Societies Fair and the EPS Societies Fair where we were able to celebrate everything we do and recruit new members. Our EGM in September filled up the committee, electing a new Chair and Treasurer amongst other roles.

Due to COVID restrictions, all our events were virtual this year but we took this as an opportunity to invite speakers from further away to share their knowledge and network with our members. A STEM Induction, delivered by Sue Perkins, enabled our members to receive training and become STEM Ambassadors; this is vital to the outreach we do in the community. We also invited Dr Priti Parikh to come and give a talk in December on the role of engineering in international development.

The ability to hold talks virtually has also allowed us to collaborate with EWB chapters at other universities, which is very exciting! We co-hosted a very insightful event with EWB Newcastle on renewable energy and heritage projects with guest speaker Christopher Hughes. Chris was Chair for EWB when he was a student at Birmingham, so hearing how being a part of EWB influenced his future career was great. Our Events Coordinators have also been working with EWB chapters across the country to adapt our annual Designathon competition into a collaborative online event, making it accessible to more university students than ever before.

Outreach this term has been a little difficult with COVID restrictions impacting our normal ability to deliver workshops or tutoring in person in local schools. Despite these restrictions, we’re proud to say we still found a way to have an impact on schools in our community by creating an easily accessible bank of outreach resources for teachers. We successfully recorded virtual versions of the presentations we would usually deliver in person (as seen in the screenshot below) and developed a plan of action to deliver materials to local schools once restrictions are lowered. We’re also working towards creating a careers video, ‘Studying STEM’, for local sixth forms and colleges. The video will feature a wide range of university students talking about their experiences studying STEM degrees and their hopes for the future.

virtual talks

You can check out our outreach resources on our new website https://outreach.ewbuob.uk/home and please feel free to make use of them yourselves!

As well as our guest speaker talks and outreach programme, we also hosted our first-ever online society games night over Discord, playing games such as Among Us and Skribbl. The night was great fun and we have already planned more for the next semester.

Next semester will hold a lot of fun events and outreach opportunities for our society members and hopefully, one day, we will be able to hold something in person (with free pizza of course!). Our committee wishes everyone a lovely winter break and we’ll see you next semester!

Best wishes,

Chair of EWB: Birmingham

To find out more about EWB visit their website www.birmingham.ac.uk/eps/ewb.

There are 42 student groups in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. To learn more about their projects and activities head to www.birmingham.ac.uk/eps-societies.