The Cal Poly Pomona Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) hosted the 2015 Western Regional Conference, bringing more than 350 students and professionals to the campus.
The two-day conference, held April 24 and 25, featured many events, including sessions covering life after graduation, company showcases, and many competitions.
The club members worked for about eight months planning the conference.
Erin Mascarinas, AIChE publicity chair and secretary, says that planning the conference was a huge learning experience for them. They learned that things don’t always go as they are planned on paper.
Matthew Downs, AIChE president and conference chair, says that the group was flexible and able to handle everything to make the event go smoothly.
“This is the first year the club felt capable enough to do a conference,” Downs says. “We all thought we were ready.”
One of the highlights of the event was the Chem-E-Car competition.
Student teams ranging from four to 30 people built a car about the size of a shoebox that is fueled by a chemical reaction. In order to make the vehicle move, they needed to calculate the amount of chemicals needed to create a reaction that would go a specific distance while carrying a set weight.
Teams received the distance and weight an hour before the competition, meaning that they have to do some quick calculations.
The competition is full of camaraderie and school spirit, Downs says.
“You think it’s something more exciting from a distance, because of all the crowds and excitement, and then you see this little car traveling half a mile an hour,” he says. “Everyone knows it’s not easy. Even if their team didn’t make it off the line, it was cool to see everyone cheering on their team.”
At the final banquet, he says the best part was watching the attendees enjoy themselves and knowing that the hard work paid off. It was the club’s attention to detail that made the event enjoyable for the attendees. One example was the Legos set placed in the middle of each table so that they could create their own centerpieces.
“To know that you put so much time and effort into making this happen, and seeing everyone’s excitement across the room was a great feeling,” he says.
“Seeing it all come together was very rewarding for our whole conference planning committee at CPP AIChE, and our student organization aspires to accomplish more achievements such as these in the years to come.”