Engineers gathered this past weekend for an annual conference with speech topics ranging from industry racism to solar panel project proposals.
Engineers for a Sustainable World is a nationwide organization that promotes social and environmental prosperity through education, design and construction. Out of its 50 collegiate chapters, UT is the only chapter to host the conference for the second time since 2005.
Conference chair Ananna Anu, a civil engineering senior, said choosing a theme for the conference was tricky.
“Austin is known for its startup culture,” Anu said. “We chose the theme ‘accelerate’ to show how we can sustain these startups. Whether it’s on a personal level or a corporate level, engineering is vital to sustainability.”
Anu, a fourth-year member of the organization, said the event is an incredible learning opportunity.
“We are not limited to one engineering major here,” Anu said. “I learn about cool industry innovations all the time, some of these innovations happened in industries that I didn’t even know existed.”
Outside of students and professors, the conference also invited industry professionals.
Andrew Johnston, director of Navigant Global Energy Practice, gave a keynote speech about collaboration within engineering.
“There is a stereotype that engineers aren’t good at communicating with others,” said Johnston, a UT alumnus. “We are here to see what the next generation has to offer in terms of communication with government officials, students and citizens in order to provide more durable sustainable engineering practices.”
Johnston said the annual conference showed him a reflection of engineering’s future.
“It is good to see that the future of engineering is getting a tanner complexion and more women,” Johnson said. “The current engineering society is full of old, white males. The future brings a generational and cultural bridge to the professional field.”
Architectural engineering sophomore Tiffany Tang said she enjoyed presenting solutions to environmental problems. Her group worked weekly on an aquatic engineering design that was presented at the conference in a classroom setting.
“Our jobs are very diverse,” Tang said. “We maintain an aquatic system, check for the weather quality, check for the fish and build structures for plants to grow.”
Tang said the conference has been an eye- opening experience.
“It’s interesting to see what people are doing in other schools,” Tang said. “The diversity here in demography and ideas is what makes the conference so interesting.”