A First Year’s First Impression of SWE-UCR based on First General Meeting

What never escapes the incoming student, no matter the university, is the phrase, “you absolutely must get involved.” Despite any lingering doubts that one may have in regards to how they can become involved, one fact is for certain: no matter what one is interested in, there is an organization, club, or association for it. And when it comes to recruitment, first impressions are what make or break a returning member.

Advertisement was plentiful, especially if one signed up for the organization beforehand at one of the numerous club expositions. Winston Chung Hall, 205/206 on October 5th at 5:30 PM. During the first two weeks of the fall quarter, emails were distributed in abundance regarding the upcoming first general meeting of the year as well as the mentorship program. I, along with a friend of mine, both attended the general meeting.

We were greeted with smiles, requests for sign-in and an invitation to a slice of pizza. The room was filled with seating spaces, of which were quickly filled as the meeting commenced. The first officer to address the room was Sirina Nabhan, the President of the organization and a 4th year Electrical Engineering student. The energy that she produced during the presentation, along with all the other officers, promoted a sense of not only enthusiasm but also promise. These men and women who have come together under the organization have gained great achievements, created successful connections for lasting careers, and above all have accomplished a concept that few engineering-centric groups and organizations have been able to grasp: the successfulness of a well-rounded organization that provides numerous and sundry opportunities for all kinds of people. Yes, one is expected to be in some form of engineering when considering SWE, but the amount of available positions, branches of service and programs extends possibility to an incredible bound. Those who flourish when given the responsibility of public relations, marketing or arranging events for soon-to-be college students can find their niche by shadowing officers, helping with the various Outreach events, and attending networking events such as the annual STEM Job Fair and the up-and-coming Evening with Industry event. Even the technical inclusion is broad, involving workshops as well as a Team Tech Competition, an event sponsored by Boeing that provides a substantial baseboard in terms of technical experience and involvement in a team-oriented engineering competition.

I spoke with Cindy Yanez, SWE’s historian and a fellow Mechanical Engineer. The same enthusiasm that was weaved through the primary presentation found its way back into the conversation. While the exchange was full of warmth and an overall welcoming demeanor, there was no absence of information and critical points. This was reestablished each time I spoke with a different officer, asked questions regarding summer internships and the effectiveness of the mentorship program. Overall, these officers were not only able to convey their positions and the responsibilities within them, but also excelled in their portrayal of confidence. Nothing of what they accomplish is by any means easy work; it takes time, patience, coordination, and dedication beyond anything I have ever encountered before. But when such work is presented with confidence and solid assurance of if we can do it, you can do it too, there exists no trepidation to create a roadblock between what could be and what will be.

I left with a pamphlet, a stamped card and my friend. The weight of the event was settling upon my mind, the memory of everyone actively talking between bites of ice cream and exchanges of emails still fresh. Everyone was discussing positions, events, and questions about how to become more involved flew back and forth with the flurry of energy that can only come with the collective realization of the open door in front of all of us. What can become of us if we choose to roll up our sleeves and get to work on SWE, to become a part of a prominent organization and to create the impact for generations to come? Until I attend the future events all throughout the year and do just that, the answer is simply one of optimistic speculation.

As far as first impressions go, conclusions are simple: if SWE can do it, then so can I.

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