Why change the Advisory Board for OEC and why now?

Photo by gorodenkoff

For just over 40 years of the Ontario Engineering Competition (OEC), there has been an advisory board (of some shape or form) made up of student representatives and industry members to guide and shape OEC. The competition has run each year, thanks to the dedication of the student organizers and support from the Advisory board and Sponsors — there’s much to be proud about!

One of the key differentiators of undergrad competitions is that OEC is student organized – it is fuelled by a group of dedicated students that volunteer, on top of their heavy engineering course work, to run a weekend that gathers the top echelon of engineering students, industry and sponsors to showcase and celebrate student engineering talent from all disciplines. The dedicated chairs of the organizing committee then stay on for another year to support the next organizing committee to ensure the continued success of OEC. The great news is that this is all going to continue!

Over the last few years, the board has recognized that there are limitations – specifically, that even with a plan to keep members on for at least 2 years, there are challenges with maintaining institutional memory. Also there are challenges with cost certainty and control for hosts schools and also consistent, permanent oversight. And so, the board made the decision to create a permanent, full time organization to support current competitions. All the amazing things are going to continue: student committees getting event planning and sponsorship experience, rotating between host faculties, student societies continue to control eligibility and registration, strong participation and caliber of the students. None of this will change! Instead, the challenges will be addressed with this nonprofit organization, by having formal institutional memory, consistent and permanent oversight plus creation of multi-year sponsorship engagement, creating a strategic plan, establishing cost certainty and control for host faculties, promotion of extra-event engagement and the list goes on (including reducing the sponsorship load for the students, and instead sharing this load with them)! The future is bright and there is no time better than now to support the continued success of engineering competitions!

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