Engineers Have More Fun

By Kelly Dickinson • February 24, 2011 at 12:03 pm


Engineers test their paper airplanes on Monday.| Photo by Cate Young.

For some liberal arts and communications majors, the life of an engineering student might seem to be a terrifying, fascinating enigma. Engineering involves math and science, the kryptonite of many a Film or Archaeology major.

But National Engineers Week — or E-Week — is upon us, and the Boston University College of Engineering has a full schedule of events. These festivities will bring students and faculty together, and show other schools that engineers can have fun, too.

The week began with a Paper Airplane contest, sponsored by BU’s chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.  Also present were a handful of members from the school’s chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. There were about a dozen people in attendance, each with a paper airplane of his or her own construction. These planes would be put through a battery of tests and challenges.

“We have three categories,” said SEDS member Dane Sarcone. “Distance, time aloft, and creativity.”

They measured “time aloft” by dropping the planes from the overlook on the second story of the Photonics Center. The winner of that contest was, predictably, an airplane that was shaped like a piece of paper, folded at the edges. But the “furthest” portion of the contest was the real challenge—after a few rounds, AIAA chapter Vice President Kendra Toole took the title.

And though building real planes is complicated, the paper airplane contest wasn’t an exact science. “Honestly, I just Googled coolest and farthest plane design,” Toole said.

When not throwing paper down the halls of Photonics, AIAA is inviting lecturers and raising awareness about aerospace careers. They frequently team up with SEDS. According to Sarcone, in spring, they plan to collaborate to launch their own data-gathering weather balloon.

The event was small and definitely informal, but that is what made it fun. E-Week features many formal events, such as a Signal Amplification Technology Demonstration on Wednesday, or Professional Networking Night on Thursday. But there is also a Faculty-Student basketball game, a bottle-rocket competition, and a trivia night.

A full list of events can be found on the College of Engineering Website.


Kelly is a CAS/COM senior double-majoring in Psychology and Film. She was the editor-in-chief last year, but she ceded to Ingrid in a mostly-bloodless coup. Right now, she's Producing on QuadCast, checking off her BU bucket-list and hunting for one of those "job" things.