Plumb Bob ensures IT Week goes out with bang

The student group organizes and coordinates the weeklong event.

Mathematics senior Melissa Checky chalks announcements about IT Week on Sunday in the Northrop Mall area.

Mathematics senior Melissa Checky chalks announcements about IT Week on Sunday in the Northrop Mall area.

Brent Renneke

When Betsy Cossette was a first-year student at the University of Minnesota, she felt that her excitement about Institute of Technology Week was not shared by her peers. Cossette would ask her classmates if they were attending an IT Week event and would generally receive the same response: âÄúWhat is IT Week?âÄù This question alarmed Cossette, because she was and is a member of Plumb Bob, a University student group given the role of organizing and promoting the weeklong event. âÄúI would think, âÄòWe are not doing our jobs right,âÄô âÄù Cossette, who is now a senior in chemical engineering, said. Today, Plumb Bob, named after an ancient building tool used to maintain square angles during construction, works with other student groups to both organize and run the celebration of ITâÄôs student community. Effective July 2010, the Institute of Technology will be renamed the College of Science and Engineering, making this the last official IT Week. The event culminates Saturday night with the IT Ball. Plumb Bob works with other IT student groups to both generate new event ideas and arrange to host them, Alyson Borrell, mechanical engineering sophomore and vice president of the group, said. âÄúWe make sure that we ask student groups what events they want to host, and we coordinate when these events occur,âÄù Borrell said. This coordination is Plumb BobâÄôs most important task, as the group serves as the central organizer of the weekâÄôs activities. Plumb Bob members attend IT student board meetings âÄî where many of the IT student groups presidents are present âÄî to raise awareness of IT Week, said Nathan Jastram, electrical engineering senior and Plumb Bob president. âÄúWe try to get all IT student groups to do an event because it is free promotion for their student groups,âÄù Jastram said. Susan Kubitschek, director of student programs for IT, said Plumb BobâÄôs connection with the IT Student Board goes beyond attending meetings. Kubitschek said the IT student board is co-hosting IT Week with Plumb Bob, and the connection is meant to alleviate some of the work that comes in organizing the week. âÄúWe have been trying to establish a relationship, so they donâÄôt have to feel that they have to do all of the logistic work,âÄù Kubitschek said. Along with being an umbrella organization for the weekâÄôs events, Plumb Bob is running a few competitions of its own this year. One event is the IT King and Queen Competition, organized by Cossette, which Plumb Bob members started advertising on Facebook more than a month ago. A king and queen are chosen by their ability to raise money for various charities and their attendance at the weekâÄôs events. Cossette said this system creates excitement over the weekâÄôs events that a simple vote would not. âÄúThis way, [the finalists] tell their friends to come with them to these events,âÄù Cossette said. âÄúMore and more people learn about IT Week throughout the week.âÄù Borrell said the ability to run the IT King and Queen Competition is a privilege earned in the second year of the two-year commitment each new member makes to Plumb Bob. Borrell said second-year members of the group are considered officers, while new members are junior members. âÄúWe get the junior members involved by helping the officers plan events, so the next year they will be able to plan an event,âÄù Borrell said. Jastram said that by winter break, questions pertaining to how many student groups will be involved, any changes that need to be made and the actual dates of IT Week are straightened out. During the spring semester, Jastram said the group begins to reserve the space needed for events like the IT Ball and starts working more closely with student groups in planning the actual events. Jastram said the months of work that go into the planning of IT Week are justified by what it means for the thousands of students in the college. âÄúA lot of people think that we just go into our building and work all day,âÄù Jastram said. âÄúThis shows we have just as much of a fun side as other groups.âÄù