Construction-focused Students Organizations and Teams Engineer Success
Student organizations and teams in the Del E. Webb School of Construction prepare students for the transition from classroom to construction site—and for many, provide a chance to hone their skills, make connections and have fun.
These organizations range from honors and professional associations, to minority and diversity groups, to teams designing solar-powered houses and trenchless technologies.
The benefits of student organizations and teams include leadership development, social opportunities and networking, community outreach, career growth and exposure to hands-on construction practice.
Building a Construction Network
The ASU Chapters of the American Concrete Institute (ACI), the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA), and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) operate in conjunction with national and international professional societies – helping students to expand their professional network and explore career opportunities.
The ASU chapter of ACI has a working relationship with the Arizona ACI professional chapter that brings construction professionals to the university to teach courses and give guest lectures in classes and club meetings. Students in ACI, IMFA and NAHB work alongside their respective professional chapter to organize field tours, assist in construction-related competitions and provide funding for student scholarships and trips to national conferences.
Also linked to an international chapter, Sigma Lamda Chi is the Construction Honor Society at ASU. Sigma Lamda Chi recognizes outstanding students in the construction curricula by providing qualifying construction students opportunities to develop relationships with other students, industry and the local construction community.
Another group, the Construction Graduate Network (CGN), facilitates networking within the DEWSC graduate community. They aim to build lasting relationships between students and faculty through organized meetings and events, while providing a place for graduate students to present and promote their academic research and success stories.
Focusing on Minority Populations
Other groups, such as Advancing Women in Construction (AWIC) and Construction in Indian Country (CIIC) focus their efforts specifically on minority populations within the Construction School.
AWIC prides itself on a mentorship program that links female students with experienced members of the construction industry to ensure career development and professional growth during their academic years.
More than 70 women – and several men – in the greater Phoenix construction industry mentor AWIC students, providing them with a tailored inside look at life in the industry.
CIIC focuses its efforts on assisting the large American Indian population in Arizona by connecting native students with the Del E. Webb School of Construction. CIIC coordinates visits and tours for American Indian high school students, and is currently working alongside the ASU Chapter of Engineers Without Borders on projects that better the tribal communities of the Havasupai, Navajo and San Carlos Apache nations.
Hands-on Construction Competitions
Still other students elect to join student organizations for the joy of creating, inventing and solving problems with like-minded engineering students.
Dozens of students join a “Reno team” to take part in the Associated Schools of Construction’s Annual Student Competition in Reno, Nevada. In addition to competing in a 16-hour construction project simulation, students attend a career fair that includes more than 80 construction companies.
“Industry representatives look very seriously at these students,” said Allan Chasey, program chair for the Del E. Webb School of Construction in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. “Participating in this competition is a real differentiator when students are interviewing. The industry understands what it takes and if you have competed, and won, it really sets you apart.”
In 2014, ASU had three Reno teams return home with third place prizes.
In addition, the ASU-NASTT Student Chapter falls under the umbrella of the North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT). These students promote the use of trenchless technologies for the construction and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure for public benefit.
ASU-NASTT members participate in various competitions, including the annual North American No-Dig Conference, where two construction engineering doctoral students brought home first place awards and scholarships in 2014.
In 2014, 23 other students elected to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon Competition. In this competition, students from ASU and the University of New Mexico joined forces to design and build an innovative, affordable, resilient and comfortable solar-powered house that produces as much energy as it consumes.
The structure named SHADE – Solar Homes Adapting for Desert – won fifth place in the architecture category and sixth in the engineering category of the Solar Decathlon competition. The project even attracted the attention of Bill Clinton, who toured SHADE and met the student designers during his visit to Arizona in April 2014.
What all of these student organizations have in common is that they provide a place for students to develop leadership, teamwork and networking skills.
“We find that employers are looking for future employees that have experiences in team interaction and the soft skills of working with people. Our student organizations provide that learning environment for our students,” said Chasey.