University of Arizona Engineers Week 2015: Are You Up to the Challenge?

From rock drilling and Rube Goldberg competitions to stargazing on the UA Mall and a crowning ball, Engineers Week promises good times for a good cause.

University of Arizona Engineers Week, or E-Week, the annual celebration of creativity, competition and charity organized by the Engineering Student Council, takes place on and around the UA campus from April 10 through 18, 2015.

Cerebral to celestial, gritty to elegant, athletic to absurd, E-Week events share a common goal: To spread the magic and meaning of engineering to as many people as possible.

“E-Week is a great way to promote engineering to the campus and the community,” said College of Engineering Dean Jeff Goldberg. “It shows that engineers can improve society and help people, and have some fun while they do it. And it’s a great opportunity to get kids interested in a career in engineering.”

Engineers Without Borders club member Will Sim tries to keep a balloon aloft during an E-Week 2014 contest. All are welcome at E-Week contests, which showcase the talents of UA student engineers, raise awareness about engineering education and raise funds for those in need.

“This should be the biggest E-Week we’ve ever had at the UA, with 28 engineering student clubs participating,” predicted Ericka Tucker, Engineering Student Council president. 

The more student clubs participate in E-Week, the more they can help the Tucson community. Clubs compete for points based on their participation and performance at each E-Week event, including community service events, and clubs with the most points win prizes at E-Week closing ceremonies. So they’re especially motivated to attract and interest to as many people as possible.

Bending Minds, Breaking Rocks and Feeding the Hungry

E-Week 2015 events include the Rube Goldberg contest, in which student teams design and build elaborate contraptions to perform simple tasks. Rube Goldberg was a Pulitzer-Prize-winning cartoonist, inventor and engineer, whose comical inventions still influence popular culture and have inspired generations of UA engineers to overdesign in his name.

Later in the week, mining engineering students show off their machine-wielding skills at another popular E-Week event, the rock-drilling competition outside Old Main [video].

Engineering students also face off at Engineering Jeopardy; Lego, Jenga and egg-drop competitions; and softball and kickball tournaments.

E-Week organizers have teamed up with a new club, UA Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, for a first-ever E-Week event, “Yuri’s Night,” where amateur astronomers set up telescopes on the UA Mall for community members to scan the night sky.

At week’s end, students kick out the jams at the Engineers Ball, a classic E-Week gala resurrected last year after a long hiatus.

The capstone community outreach and public service effort for E-Week 2015 is a canned food drive to benefit the UA Campus Pantry, which serves University of Arizona students, staff and their families. Organizers aim to collect 6,000 pounds of food, and Dean Goldberg has pledged $1,000 in matching funds.

Because the Engineering Student Council can hold only 500 pounds of food, the UA chapter of the professional engineering fraternity Theta Tau Chi has volunteered to store overflow at its house during E-Week until students can deliver donations to the UA Pantry.

“It’s just one example of how UA engineering students join forces at E-Week to help members of the community,” Tucker said. “The giving back portion of Engineer’s Week is by far the most important.”

E-Week 2015 promises serious fun for engineers and non-engineers of all ages. [Download PDF of event listing]