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Virginia Tech's Student Engineers' Council exceeds $220,000 in philanthropy


BLACKSBURG, Va., May 6, 2004 – Virginia Tech's Student Engineers' Council has topped the $220,000 marker in giving to the university during the past six years, making it the most philanthropic council in the country.

The Student Engineers' Council generates its funds by hosting a career fair each fall. One of the largest career fairs of its kind in the country, Engineering Expo is attended by companies that pay registration fees, which are then channeled back to the engineering student body.

For 2004, the SEC awarded grants to the college's Ware Lab, to the freshman design program, and to the First-Year Engineering Lecture series.

The Ware Lab received $5,000 to enhance its hands-on engineering programs. At the Ware Lab, students work together in teams under the direction of engineering faculty and graduate students. The Ware Lab facilities include a computer lab, robotics lab, machine shop, welding shop, and work areas for student design projects.

The freshman engineering program received $4,300 for a new fuel cell lab project. Steve York, assistant professor of engineering fundamentals in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, recently developed a new freshman hands-on lab that introduces students to the operation and applications of fuel cells as an alternative power source. The SEC award will be used to purchase solar powered electrolysis equipment that will demonstrate the electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen fuel. The hydrogen produced will be used by students to run a fuel cell experiment in the Frith Lab.

The First-Year Engineering Lecture series received $11,000. The lecture series began in the fall of 2001 with financial support from the College of Engineering's Green Engineering Program. Previous speakers include Judge Hullihen Williams Moore (affiliated then with both the State Corporation Commission of Virginia and the National Association of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners) who addressed the incoming first-year engineering students on issues of sustainable energy. The program also has hosted Bonnie Dunbar, NASA shuttle astronaut, and Mark Shuart, a Virginia Tech alumnus at NASA Langley.

The Student Engineers' Council also confers three endowed scholarships annually, each having a value of $25,000. Other philanthropic efforts of the council include sponsoring a Penny War to benefit Montgomery County Schools and providing each freshman engineering student with a free organizer to ease the transition between high school and college.

The next Engineering Expo on campus is slated for September 21-22, 2004. Companies can register online at http://www.sec.vt.edu/expo.php.

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college's 5,600 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a "hands-on, minds-on" approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 2,000 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.