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Christina Sedighi - Fall 2008

Christina Sedighi

Having instilled greater intimacy into the candidate semester, Fall 2008 was a time to promote the same for Tau Beta's internal and external relations. The officer corps thrived as a supportive family and TBP found itself on the crest of a new,uplifting wave in intersociety relations.

The Fall 2008 semester carried the legacy of some controversial changes made to the structure of the officer corps at the end of the spring semester. With consistent implementation and emphasis on the subtleness of these modifications however, the new structure really did not affect much of how TBP was run. As was feared,the team arrangement proved ineffective in further supporting single-person positions, and things naturally fell toward the traditional committee structure. The one shining star from these changes, however, was the Executive Team, made up of the President, Vice Presidents, Treasurer, Corresponding Secretary, and Recording Secretary. This team made great strides in streamlining officer meetings and enhancing officer proficiency by acting as the eyes and ears over all TBP projects.

Great emphasis was placed on officer bonding and camaraderie although the officer corps seemed to naturally get along quite well this semester. A few of the actions meant to encourage more intimate officer relations were dinners before officer meetings, weekly Bentley Award recognition, $50 team stipends for teambuilding activities, and a Secret Santa gift exchange at the end of the semester. Overall, officers seemed very comfortable communicating with one another and using the guidance of their Executive Team point person.

Carrying the community spirit over to the candidate semester, the House system was further developed, and the very successful end-of-semester House Cup was added. Candidates were particularly entrenched in House competition throughout the semester, and a real sense of pride and commitment was palpable as banners, chants, and logos were created in the spirit of things. The physical House cup was presented to the winning house (Delphini) at Banquet amidst a flurry of excitement, and the cup is now showcased in our display case on the third floor of McLaughlin Hall. The cup's plaque is meant to be engraved with each semester's House Cup winner, so the chapter can look forward to this being a meaningful TBP tradition for years to come.

Fall 2008 also marked the first semester following our election of five newly graduated advisors. As we have always struggled to find concrete objectives for our advisors, each advisor was asked to choose a specific area of the chapter's projects in which to take a special interest. Along with the President, this new Advisors' Council would meet every two to three weeks via teleconference to receive updates on chapter progress and provide sage advice wherever they saw fit. This routine has continued into the Spring 2009 semester and will hopefully proceed to keep our advisors closely involved in the future as well.

The 2008 TBP National Convention was held in Sacramento, and we were able to bring not only our President but also five of our advisors. At the Convention, it was remarkable to realize just how unique our California Alpha chapter is as well as the recognition we are receiving on the national level. I seized an opportunity to sit with the Executive Council and other leaders at the head table one evening, and it was outstanding to gain such an intimate insight into the workings of the Tau Beta Pi national organization. At the same time, my personal conversations and our string of awards during the next two evening ceremonies served to keep CA-A in everyone's mind. It is important for us to realize that we can and do have a presence on the larger scale, and while this should never be a priority over our own chapter's well-being, we are inevitably a model chapter for others.

This semester saw a considerable spike in intersociety amiability, and particular effort was put toward developing ties with the leaders of other engineering student societies and revitalizing the Engineers' Joint Council to foster and maintain these ties for future classes of engineers. TBP sustained a substantial presence in such initiatives as Engineering Societies Meetings (precursors to the new EJC meetings), hosting and advertising joint events and the joint engineering calendar, and organizing the second annual Engineering for Kids Day. The majority of intersociety relations grew organically, and through seeing each other so often through all these projects, the leaders of TBP, PTS, SWE, SES, and other groups actually became good friends, greatly facilitating coordination and support. I would hope that TBP continues to be a leader in the engineering community and in spearheading events and initiatives that benefit engineering students.

Overall, the Fall 2008 semester was one of goodwill and friendship, both within TBP and amongst the general engineering community. While we should never rest on our laurels for any of the audiences that we serve, the chapter should not forget to look internally first. It is our people who make us so exceptional; only with a healthy core can we accomplish as much as we do. And with smiles on our faces nonetheless. TBP embraces an unmatched blend of talent, integrity, and joie de vivre, and it is exactly these ideals that will continue to set us apart.

Important Contributions and New Traditions

  • Initiation and definition of the role of the Executive Team
  • Bentley Awards for outstanding officer contributions
  • Officer gifts to commemorate the semester and voluntary Secret Santa gift exchange
  • Instating team/committee stipends to encourage bonding activities
  • Redefining officer structure and responsibilities to reflect ineffective team arrangement during the semester
  • Chair Leadership Forum held before retreat to advise committee chairs on their distinctive roles
  • Holding Fall Officer Retreat in Tahoe (rather than Yosemite) for 3 nights, with a 2-part retreat meeting format
  • Inaugurating the Advisors' Council of newly graduate advisors,with biweekly teleconferences
  • Initiation of the House Cup tradition
  • Strong involvement in Engineering Societies Meetings, and the revival and restructuring of EJC
  • Involvement in first ever Honor Society Meeting held to discuss common issues faced by engineering honor societies
  • Acquiring $750 Greater Interest in Government grant from TBP Nationals for 2nd annual E4K Day
  • Hosting District Conference with complimentary "root beer float" mug gifts
  • Donation by Chevron in the amount of $2000
  • Creating a descriptive placard for the Little Big Game axe
  • Spurring interchapter events within our district (especially with UCSC, Stanford, and SFSU) and adding those exchanges to CSec responsibilities