2020 was certainly a uniquely trying year. However, the obstacles Tau Beta Pi faced in 2020 provided opportunities for many positive and even permanent changes. Keep reading to learn about some of our “firsts” this year!
COVID-19 restrictions forced almost everyone to pivot to digital programs and events. Initiation ceremonies, Engineering Futures sessions, and even our annual gathering of members moved online this year. Alongside making more of our events available online, we also focused on supporting our students and alumni through our recruiting fair, student assistance grants, and conversations on racial and social inequities. Through it all, we’ve kept Tau Beta Pi traditions alive!
1. Virtual Initiations
Cancelling initiations was not an option that TBP could afford to accept, denying thousands of eligible candidates for TBP membership the opportunity to join. To continue the crucial process of initiating new members, a virtual initiation ritual format was established and in the spring of 2020, 166 chapters resulting in 2,308 new members used it. To learn more about how initiations looked different in 2020, check out the November 2020 issue of The Bulletin.
2. Virtual Engineering Futures Sessions
Tau Beta Pi’s award-winning Engineering Futures program was established over 20 years ago as a way to promote “soft skills” training for engineering students in the workplace. Typically, EF Sessions are held in-person on campuses, but, due to COVID-19 precautions, they were offered virtually. Not only were newly-created EF sessions available online, they also were opened to all interested students and, for the first time, to alumni. For more information on Engineering Futures, click here.
3. Unvention 2020
2020 saw the first time a Convention was suspended since 1942, after the outbreak of World War II. The result was a series of virtual activities and meetings dubbed the “Unvention.” Our 115th annual meeting, Unvention 2020, was the Association’s inaugural online event during which 1,200 Tau Bates registered to attend. Held between October 10 and November 7, Unvention’s program included many workshops and professional development sessions that can be found on the Tau Beta Pi Unvention YouTube channel.
4. Virtual Recruiting Fair
In 2020, TBP also hosted its first Virtual Recruiting Fair. Designed to provide career-seeking assistance to Tau Bate students and alumni alike, the event included 505 candidates who met by video chats with 124 recruiters representing 37 graduate engineering programs and corporations, within a total of 1078 meetings. For a list of recruiters, click here.
5. Chapter Chats
Tau Beta Pi launched “Chapter Chats,” a series of video discussions with chapters that you can watch on the TBP YouTube Channel. The first Chapter Chats were offered in the spring of 2020 to allow for video discussions among chapter officers and headquarters. Topics included plans around COVID-19, online initiation ceremony procedures and online chapter operations.
6. Student Assistance Program (SAP) Grants
In September, Tau Beta Pi distributed $112,500 in grants to 45 student members in amounts of $2,500 each. The primary goal was to relieve student tuition debt and assist with students remaining in school. The timing and unprecedented number of grants awarded was influenced by the global pandemic which limited many students’ ability to find jobs or internships. Learn more about the SAP here.
7. The Bent‘s New Look
In August of this year, The Bent magazine received its first complete design overhaul in the twenty-first century. Since 1905, The Bent has been the go-to source for news about TBP, interesting and relevant articles by expert authors, interviews with distinguished members, and alumni events. To learn more about how to subscribe, click here.
8. Conversations on Race and Equity
In 2020 we were impacted not only by COVID-19 but also by an increased awareness of social inequities. In the wake of ensuing massive civil unrest following the death of George Floyd, Tau Beta Pi released a statement to members in summer 2020. We followed that up by holding our first facilitated Conversations on Race and Equity sessions in December. The sessions will serve as a vehicle to increase awareness of social and racial inequities and to explore ways that TBP can work to address any disparity that exists in the engineering profession. For more information on upcoming events contact firstname.lastname@example.org.