Institute of Technology to host its first student organization fair Wednesday

The fair has been in the works since last semester and will host 25 organizations.

Brent Renneke

In his project management class last semester, undergraduate teaching assistant James Rodriguez handed in an assignment that proposed a student organization fair specifically for students of the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology. âÄúThere was no outlet for student organizations to expose themselves to only their target audience,âÄù Rodriguez said. âÄúThat was what was missing from a successful recruitment event as a whole.âÄù RodriguezâÄôs assignment will come to life Wednesday when IT hosts its first student organization fair. Hosted by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the fair currently has about 25 organizations planning to attend, according to Rodriguez, who is the lead organizer. Student involvement is becoming increasingly important with future employers who are looking for skills that cannot be obtained in IT classrooms, Susan Kubitschek, IT director of student programs, said. âÄúThey know that the students are graduating with great technical skills, but what is going to make them stand out from their peers and other institutions?âÄù she said. Rodriguez said leadership and other communication skills can be obtained with involvement in student organizations. âÄúThe thing that IT really lacks is a curriculum for skill that teaches you how to work in groups and lead effectively,âÄù he said. Tim Eiler, professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, said skills like interaction between people in a business-like setting are overshadowed by the studentsâÄô academic load. âÄúWhen people in the college of engineering graduate, they are going to need those things,âÄù he said. âÄúBut they donâÄôt think they are going to need them, so they blow them off.âÄù But Eiler said he does not think the student organization fair will help change that. âÄúHaving a venue to go see what they donâÄôt have time for is not going to make a difference,âÄù he said. Some students look at the large amount of coursework and find it hard to fill their little free time with more things to do. âÄúIT works a lot harder than most other colleges,âÄù said senior aerospace engineer major Aaron Meyers. âÄúThe time is there, and you could do it, but it is an awful lot of work.âÄù Rodriguez said the idea for the IT-specific student organization fair came from when he asked a group of student organizations to raise their hands if they attended past student involvement fairs that were open campus-wide. âÄúWhen I asked them how many felt it was a successful event, I would say 90 percent of them put their hands down,âÄù he said. Kubitschek said the fair offers another chance for students to think about student organizations. âÄúThis is one more opportunity for underclassmen to decide what they are really going to be interested in,âÄù she said.