ECE Day is an annual community event on the last day of spring classes, hosted by ECE SAC with substantial contributions from the other ECE student organizations and support from the department.
ECE Day started in 2005 when SAC members voted to provide an annual, day-long event that would bring the ECE community together to celebrate the discipline, department and talents of its people – technically and otherwise. The first ECE Day was in the spring of 2006 and has been held annually ever since.
The day’s events begin indoors with a “Google map yourself” breakfast that helps connect the ECE community during the summer. It also features technical, professional and reflective activities that often include project demonstrations, an ECE “tech art” gallery, rounds of ECE Jeopardy and ECE Café (a specific form of intellectual engagement and idea exchange based on World Café).
Later in the day, the ECE graduate lounge opens its doors for ping pong and foosball tournaments, and eventually the entire community goes outside for a picnic, ECE talent show, charity dunk tank and lots of volley ball.
Build18 is an annual, weeklong, student-run, tinkering and gadgeting festival for ECE students that starts just prior to spring semester and runs through the first week of spring classes. Teams may also include faculty and students from other disciplines. Alumni and corporate representatives are welcome to join in many of the activities during the week.
Build18 was brainstormed in SAC for several years before becoming an initiative presented to the department and a pilot in 2009. When the pilot was successful, SAC voted to hand it off to IEEE to further develop and run it as an annual “hackathon” – funded mostly by industry – with the full support of the ECE Department. In 2010, 16 student teams participated. In 2011, 23 teams and approximately 75 students were involved. In 2012, the event grew to 40 teams and over 130 students and was covered by the Associated Press. Following the 2012 event, Build18 became its own student organization.
ECE undergraduate and masters students take great pride in participating in Build18. They get the chance to work with their own creative, technical ideas and their choice of project partners. Each evening there is “hack support” – a time when student teams are joined by alumni, corporate sponsors and interested faculty to discuss projects and problem-solve.
This entrepreneurial endeavor is punctuated by talks on innovation during the week. Those talks have included innovators from Qualcomm, SpaceX and Google as well as alumni currently involved in startups.
During the academic year 2007-2008, Carnegie Mellon’s HKN sigma Chapter submitted a proposal to host the fall 2008 national conference and won that opportunity. The officers for academic year 2008-2009 took on the task of planning and implementing that conference. In conjunction with their professional advisor, the HKN officers and members created a full day of professional events and activities that aimed to educate, inform and inspire the approximately 150 visiting honor society students from 27 U.S. universities. The conference schedule included a variety of keynote addresses (by industry leaders and academics), faculty and student-led leadership exercises and a VIP industry panel on innovation.
The ECE Department also hosts the following annual events for its students: