Low Library will light up this Sunday night to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the start of the 17th annual Engineering Week.
The Engineering Student Council, SEAS administrators, and student groups are working together to organize the week’s events, which will feature an opening dinner at Low Library, a screening of “Hubble 3D” at Lincoln Center, and, of course, opportunities for free food and free T-shirts.
“It’s really cool to see that there’s this organic celebration taking place where it’s not just a top-down approach of administration or councils pushing it through,” ESC President Siddhant Bhatt, SEAS ’14, said.
Planning for the anniversary started last semester and was led by a committee of faculty members, representatives from the Alumni Association and the Young Alumni Association, and two students—Bhatt and Zen Liu, president of the Engineering Graduate Student Council. The committee had the idea to launch the anniversary events alongside the annual engineering week.
“Once people started to hear about this 150th anniversary ... excitement has definitely been brewing,” Rushal Rege, SEAS ’14 and ESC vice president for student life, said.
To kick off the celebration, which will continue throughout 2014, the week’s first event will be a Thai Market-catered dinner in Roone Arledge Auditorium on Sunday night, which is open to the Columbia community.
After the event, which is cosponsored by ESC and the Engineering Graduate School Council, SEAS Dean Mary Boyce will unveil a commemorative light display on the columns of Low.
“It’s a good starting point to bring people out, pump excitement up,” Bhatt said of the dinner. “It will be nice to see a lot of familiar faces that have graduated from the school, and how they’re doing and what they’re up to.”
In addition to events coordinated by councils and administrators, other student groups have events planned for the anniversary. The Society of Women Engineers spearheaded a project to make celebratory sweatshirts and will hold a networking event for students and alumni on Wednesday, while the Columbia University American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is working to incorporate its flight simulator into one of the week’s events.
“I’m really excited for SWE speed networking,” Alish Sindhwani, SEAS ’16, said. “I think everything is a lot bigger this year.”
Other highlights of the week include a talk about the history of SEAS by Barnard history professor Robert McCaughey—who’s working on a book about the history of the school—and a dinner for SEAS undergraduates, graduates, and alumni at Brassiere 8 ½, a restaurant on West 57th Street.
The tickets for the dinner were subsidized by ESC for SEAS undergraduates, allowing them free entry.
“It was sold out in 20 minutes,” Bhatt said about the dinner.
The week will conclude with a screening of “Hubble 3D” at Lincoln Square Imax, followed by a conversation with astronaut Mike Massimino, SEAS ’84 and a visiting professor this year.
“I’m excited for that to be the end of engineering week,” Rege said. “It’s open to parents, it’s open to alumni, it’s open to faculty, it’s open to students, it’s open to guests of students. It’s the best way to culminate, to make sure everyone is represented, to make sure everyone has an opportunity to celebrate together."
Bhatt said he hopes the week will bring the SEAS community together.
“I hope that even if not a bunch of events, if every engineer can come to even one event that’s something that would be a positive for us,” Bhatt said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Sunday's dinner would be held at Low Library. It will actually be held at Roone Arledge Auditorium. Spectator regrets the error.