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"Community" - James Hong - Spring 1995 President

James Hong

By the time I took over as President, Tau Beta Pi had already started gaining momentum. At the time,I felt the one thing that kept Tau Beta Pi from transforming into a more active organization was a lack of community. In the past, most members saw Tau Beta Pi as something they could put on their resume, and nothing more. I wanted to transform Tau Beta Pi from being a mere club into being a true society. To do so, I tried four main things:

  1. Previously, we only had General meetings. These general meetings tended to be focus on topics only relevant to candidates, so members didn't feel they were worthwhile. To fix this, I started holding General meetings and Candidate meetings separately (although candidates were expected to go to both). I wanted members to have meetings that were relevant to them, and I wanted candidates to see members continuing their participation in Tau Beta Pi (hopefully to create an expectation in the candidates' minds of their future involvement in the club).

  2. Members felt little association with the society becuse they didn't feel an association with the other members. Many commented they didn't even know who else was a member. To try and remedy this, I started Donuts and Bagels on the first Friday of every month. (Engineers can't resist free food). The main point of this was to enable members to socialize and realize that Tau Beta Pi is more than just a club, it is a community. The lure of free food enabled members to recognize each other, so they would feel more comfortable participating in other events.

  3. Following in Andy Wang's effort to get more attention with the COE community, and of course to serve the community at large, I restarted the chapter's involvement with the Alameda County Blood Bank in organizing COE blood drives. By tabling in various parts of the Engineering areas, we were able to raise overall awareness of Tau Beta Pi. The lady from the bloodbank said we got more than double their usual number of signups on campus, which was a source of great pride for everyone involved. Also, after speaking with former Dean Hodges about how Tau Beta Pi could serve the college, we realized that the COE needed help in developing the college's website (it didn't have one at the time!). I encourage all future Presidents to meet with the Dean at the beginning of each term.

  4. In order for the club to continue in its success, it was vital that members feel an expectation of continued involvement within the club. Probably the most important thing I feel I accomplished was in getting the "next generation" of leadership excited about Tau Beta Pi. When I first joined, people were not as excited about the club and people had to be persuaded to run for office. When I saw the energy, enthusiasm, and mutual respect that was emerging among the younger officers, members, and candidates, I realized that that future of our chapter was very bright. I am extremeley happy to see that many of the traditions we (my fellow officers and I) started are still around, and that the officers following us have continued to build the society into the powerhouse it is today! Great job, and Go Bears!

P.S. Remember, your involvement with Cal and the COE doesn't have to end when you graduate. Be sure to join (and continue renewing) with the Engineering Alumni Society!

Best Regards, James

Important Contributions and New Traditions

  • Started the Tilden Picnic
  • Started Donuts and Bagels
  • Started Broomball (I think this tradition is dead?)
  • Adopted a beach (is this dead as well?)
  • Restarted the Blood Drive
  • Split Candidate meetings off from General Meetings
  • "Pledge of the Semester" award. I don't know if you guys still do this, but I also created the "Pledge of the Semester" award,where the pledge got his dues back, only after being forced to lead the crowd in a chanting of the TBP yell. Kindof goofy, though. I hope that one died! (<- I guess that one never died and is still going strong every semester! - B.L.)