In less than four years, the National Electrical Contractors Association’s student chapter at the University of Toronto has moved to the top of the class.
An ambitious group of students at the university recently helped the chapter win the NECA Student Chapter of the Year Award for 2017.
“We are thrilled with this recognition,” said Faculty Advisor Brenda McCabe said. “We realize that a lot of other chapters are doing great work.”
The NECA Student Chapter of the Year Award identifies students and faculty running successful student chapters by promoting activities that expose students to the electrical construction industry and facilitating year-round interaction between members and students. It also serves as an incentive to student chapters that might lack funds to organize activities. Winners in previous years include student chapters from Penn State University (2016) and Iowa State University (2015).
“It is a great honor to win the NECA Student Chapter of the Year Award,” said one of the University of Toronto student chapter’s officers, Team Leaders Coordinator Mackenzie de Carle. “The previous two years, I was blown away by the amazing work that other teams have done.”
Sneha Adhikari serves as president of the student chapter, which was established in 2014. Other officers include Vice President Andy Run Ming Liao and Treasurer Syed Imam.
Part of chapter members’ time this year was spent working on a project for the Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre for the ELECTRI International Green Energy Challenge, a competition where teams from NECA student chapters demonstrate their ability to analyze electrical construction management problems outlined for them and create a comprehensive plan and budget for an appropriate retrofit. Their hard work paid off, and they came in third place this fall. The project is also being turned into a reality.
“The fact we have been able to see contractors implement work we proposed has really shown the impact of what we have done,” McCabe said.
McCabe said members meet at different times throughout the year, depending on the chapter’s level of activity, and they meet as a chapter without her often. They also started a blog, which features news about their activities and pictures.
“The chapter is student-driven, and as such, they are very independent and highly motivated,” McCabe said.
From the beginning, Toronto’s NECA student chapter has excelled. It came in second in the 2015 Green Energy Challenge poster competition and third in the overall Green Energy Challenge in 2016. In 2017, along with the Green Energy Challenge, it won the Student Passport Initiative competition, a program that has encouraged members of NECA student chapter to engage in meaningful service learning experiences in developing communities.
“The work that our projects do for the community help keep our existing students engaged,” De Carle said. “It also excites future students when they see what they can accomplish.”
De Carle, who is in his fourth year with the student chapter and majoring in civil engineering with minors in environmental engineering and business, said the chapter wants to expand the focus of its work to include more events and projects beyond the scope of the two design competitions run by ELECTRI International. That would include a case study and seminars by industry experts.
McCabe said engaging the community has been key, and that has been a rewarding and impactful experience. The opportunity for her students to compete in the Green Energy Challenge as a finalist and make the trip to NECA 2017 Seattle was “wonderful.”
“They work so hard on these competitions – finding appropriate community partners, doing the audit, fulfilling their outreach goals, preparing estimates and documenting their proposals,” McCabe added. “Being a finalist means that they’re doing something right.”
LEARN MORE ABOUT NECA STUDENT CHAPTERS
NECA currently has 34 student chapters in the United States and Canada. Any college or university with a construction management or related program that encourages students to pursue careers in the electrical construction industry is eligible to apply for NECA affiliation as a student chapter. NECA’s goal is to establish and nurture successful, productive NECA student chapters. Some of the benefits of involvement include:
- Interaction with local NECA contractors and prospective employers
- Field trips to job sites and contractor headquarters
- Grants awarded by ELECTRI International
- Opportunities to participate in annual student competitions and win cash awards
- Expanded horizons through participation in the student service projects
- Participation at NECA’s annual convention
Visit the NECA website for more information about NECA’s student chapters, and be sure to visit NECA’s student chapter pages on Facebook and LinkedIn to connect and participate in discussions.
More about NECA Student Chapters