Clemson University’s ITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers) Student Chapter was selected in the fall of 2018 to host the Southern District’s first Student Leadership Summit (SLS) in late February 2019. This event pioneered ITE’s goal of bringing students together to develop leadership qualities as well as set the precedent for other events like this in the future. When Dr. Sarasua, one of our faculty advisors, approached the students with the opportunity to host the Summit, our chapter members were all in and went all out to hold a truly special event. Since November of 2018, the students and faculty advisors of the chapter gave countless hours to help make this event both successful and enjoyable for all involved.
As an event with students from many schools across the Southern District, Clemson’s ITE Student Leadership Summit epitomized many of the goals ITE has of developing young engineers into the future leaders of ITE and the transportation industry. The summit started with the SLS professional social during which many students and company sponsors were able to meet and interact with one another. Former ITE International President Marsha Anderson Bomar led the students and sponsors in a unique networking activity. The bowling social was another great chance to allow students to get to know each other.
In one of the highlights of the weekend, the ited talks (pronounced “I-TED” where the ‘d’ stands for discussion) featured leadership talks from seven former/current ITE International Presidents. Knowing the impossibility of bringing this many great leaders to the Summit, Clemson ITE chose to allow each of them to attend virtually to give their insights on leadership and answer questions from interested students in the room. With the chance to ask these leaders any pressing questions on their talks or leadership as a whole, the students provided many thoughtful questions that provoked great discussion from all involved. This event was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of the students to get great perspectives on leadership in ITE and the transportation world.
One of the most important abilities of a transportation engineer is to be able to network with others in the industry. As part of our summit, we held a career fair that provided students with the ability to sharpen their networking skills while learning about future job opportunities. We also held a ‘Speed Dating’ session where representatives from different companies conducted a short high-pressure one-on-one interview which each student. Based on our survey of attendees, the speed dating session turned out to be one of the favorite activities of the summit.
Planning and executing this event was a great experience for the Clemson ITE Student Chapter. We learned how to manage an event where we were able to bring nearly 60 students and 20 professionals together under one roof for the purpose of leadership development. It was a fun and learning experience for Clemson ITE and all the attendees. Our survey indicated that the student attendees thoroughly enjoyed the event and felt that they developed into better leaders because of it.
Planning this event will set a great example for schools who plan to host future ITE Student Leadership Summits. Our planning process was documented and can be used to help other ITE chapters for future events.
Our student chapter would like to thank SDITE, the ITE Legacy Fund, and the many corporate sponsors who made this event possible.
Clemson ITE Chapter President