It’s no secret that all aspects of this year have been completely different to what we are all familiar with, from academia to social lives and graduate prospects. Everyone and everything has had to adapt in numerous ways to ensure university life is still engaging and enjoyable, and BUCES is no exception.
The Birmingham University Chemical Engineering Society is renowned for frequent socials as well as the ability to help students network with future employers, and these foundations of the society have continued into the 2020/21 academic year.
Since our last update, we have exciting news: BUCES are Society of the Year! Again! At the annual EPS Societies’ Awards back in June we were ecstatic to be named the College’s Society of the Year 2019/20 for everything we did for our members including hosting and winning Frank Morton, providing new careers and networking opportunities, and raising more than £2,300 pounds for charity! We are incredibly proud and aim to continue this success into this year in every way we’re able to. We won’t let you down!
Interactions between the first year students and older years were initiated right at the start of term, with our already successful Family Scheme taking an online approach this year, providing first year students with a point of contact within the school. The Family Scheme this year had over 140 first year signups and roughly 60 students from older years acting as Chem Eng parents.
In Welcome Week, BUCES ran campus tours for over 70 first year students who had moved to Edgbaston, with the help of our members from older years. This helped some of the first years familiarise themselves with campus and get to know some of the committee, with advice from older students helping make their first few weeks less daunting.
We usually participate in the annual Birmingham Half Marathon, but unfortunately due to COVID the official event was cancelled by the Council. To ensure BUCES still did our bit and raised money for charity, we hosted our own 10km run, with effective social distancing measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus. This event raised over £650 with 20+ runners participating, and was a great way of encouraging students to get outside for some fresh air.
Throughout this term, we have had more than 10 speakers from various companies who regularly employ chemical engineers deliver talks to students about potential job opportunities. These online talks have had up to 70 students in attendance at once and provided insights into many potential undergraduate placement roles. We also hosted a Zoom call where the current 5th years spoke to students looking for a placement and delivered relevant advice and tips.
Before the second national lockdown, BUCES were fortunate enough to host an in-person social event, with roughly 100 first year students and committee visiting Norton’s bar in Digbeth. The event was fully subsidised by the Society and the School of Chemical Engineering, providing the first years with drinks, food and a quiz at an outdoor venue with social distancing measures in place. The event helped a lot of students put a face to a name, and was a glimpse for many students into what they can expect in years to come from BUCES socials.
We also hosted an online social, with a murder mystery puzzle to solve in small teams, and plenty of Among Us games happening after the puzzle had been solved.
Many of our normal events next term such as the nationwide chemical engineering sports day Frank Morton, will only be able to go ahead in an online format, but we are looking to hopefully host more in person events, particularly for 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students, although this will hinge on the government guidelines on Coronavirus at the time. We are nonetheless looking forward to an eventful term 2 with plenty more to come and hopefully more safe in-person contact when the world allows. We’ve very much keeping our options open!
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and happy New Year,
To find out more about BUCES visit their website www.birmingham.ac.uk/eps/buces.
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.