Sitting in Scurfield Hall adamantly discussing who has the nicer pea coat, we began to feel a tremble in the expensive tile floor exclusive to Scurfield Hall. Our interest stricken by this unusual stimulus, we looked up from our Blackberries and over-priced lattes to see a crowd of tumultuous people marching towards us. We knew they couldn't be business students because not one of them was wearing the standard issue black Aldo shoes or pea coat granted upon admission to Haskayne. "WE ARE WE ARE WE ARE WE ARE WE ARE THE ENGINEERS!" erupted from this mass of 50-plus students adorned in red, black and yellow scarves marching towards us. No amount of strategic management knowledge could have prepared us for this scene as we instantly had to decide between fight or flight mode. Alas, the wave of united protesters began chanting something about toilet paper and business degrees and how the two are inadvertently related.
It is no secret that engineers are a different breed. Over the years they have developed a bit of a stigma. In fact, stereotypes and engineers go hand-in-hand. Making fun of the engineers seems to be the one thing that is able to bring everyone on campus together in joyous union.
The "classic" engineer is not something out of a romance novel, it's an individual who shares vast similarities to a vampire. With pale skin and a shadowy demeanor, the engineer lurks in the gloomy engineering building making a concerted effort to stay away from the sun. For those looking to spot engineers, many would believe the clothes are a dead give away. Fashions range from the over-sized t-shirts from past day-camps to the khakis their grandparents got them for Christmas. It is believed that a more precise method of determining an engineer is encountering one in a social scenario. Considered by many to be socially inept, and with names like Milton and Eugene, they are generally the ones whose topic of conservation seems to always revolve around Starcraft. The only scientifically proven method of spotting an engineer, however, is to introduce them to an attractive female. The standard reaction from an engineer in this scenario is the onset of paralyzing rigor mortis that can only be overcome with the consumption of many alcoholic beverages.
Such stereotypes are common and come with the territory. We had no doubt in our minds that if we wanted, we could have filled an entire article with these generalizations. Stereotypes were of no concern to us now, however, because after witnessing this marching gang of engineers imposing on our quiet and pompous lifestyle, we immediately began to wonder what the hell was going on. After four years here on campus, we had never seen this phenomenon before and had only heard rumours about the gong show. We decided to uncover the secret behind what we would later learn is called "Engg. Week" and experience first-hand what these engineers were up to.
Entering the engineering building was an experience in itself. Equipped with the latest in GPS technology-- acquired after hearing stories of dead-end doors and shrinking hallways-- we prepared for a dark and dangerous journey. Flashlights in hand, you could say we were a little shocked upon arrival when we noticed the hallways were more lively decorated than a New Year's Eve party. Apparently Engg. Week is the one time of year the engineering students get to play with scissors and crayons-- and they make it count. Banners, 3D art, posters, balloons and even a mini golf course transformed the usually dim hallways into a festive see Engg. Week, page 13
atmosphere. We eventually made our way to the Engineering Student Society office, the headquarters of the entire operation. Walking into the office that Wednesday morning was much like walking into a house the morning after a kegger-- it reeked like stale beer and flatulence, there were dudes strewn all over the floor and of course, no women in sight. We were quickly introduced to the seven "stunt cocks" (the seven engineering students, also known as the seven judges, charged with the duty of orchestrating the entire Engg. Week) and found out the night before there had been a massive pub crawl. Pretty standard for a Tuesday night.
After reviving the stunt cocks with the aliases of Cirque Du So Gay, Bourbon, Yoshi, Hungry Hungry Hippo, Andre the LightWeight, Poop and Tuna by pumping them full of Red Bull, we began to ask them what the hell this "Engg. Week" is all about. The seven of them snapped out of their comatose-like hangovers and began peppering us with facts of the history of Engg. Week and engineers in general. We quickly discovered that these so-called "socially inept" engineers ran, hands down, the best week-long event on campus.
We found out Engg. Week is all about tradition. It began in the 1970s with an event called "Lady Godiva." Engineers at the U of C would hire a stripper or a prostitute, whichever was more financially feasible, to ride a large white horse completely naked across campus. Since prostitutes turned out to be terrible equestrians, this event was struck down by administration. In true engineering fashion, the unfettered engineers found another way to celebrate by having a week-long gong show full of competitions, partying and other shenanigans.
We had the privilege of witnessing first-hand some of the events that give Engg. Week such notoriety. Being business students and outsiders, we had no idea what was in store for us, nor could we have ever imagined the events to follow. The first event we witnessed was the engineering version of "Fear Factor." The most heinous and disgusting concoction we had ever seen was carefully prepared for a number of brave souls to consume. The premise behind the event was simple-- make everyone puke. Long story short, they did. After this unique and culturally rich experience we were invited to what the engineers call movie night. It turned out to be the most memorable night out of the all the Engg. Week festivities.
We timidly walked into ICT 122 where we hadn't been since those terrible first-year lectures. We knew that wearing dangerously deep v-necks to an engineering event was a serious gamble, yet we pressed on. Never did we think this classroom, associated primarily with boring lectures and academic snoozes, could be transformed into such an unbelievable party. There were 400 engineers dressed in their respective department's themed t-shirts awaitingthe premier of the movies that each of the five engineering departments had tirelessly created in the fall semester. Hundreds of hours went into making these movies and we discovered that not only can engineering humour be understood by normal human beings, it can be absolutely hilarious.
Following the movies, the seven stunt cocks began the award ceremony. Essentially it was like the Oscars on steroids. The music started pumping and people got up on the tables, clapping their hands and dancing in total unison. Try to imagine 400 engineers all dancing to the same choreographed routine for a few select songs. We had never seen anything like it before at the U of C. Those same engineers you see stumbling around the Den, pirate-eyed, hitting on anything with a pulse had suddenly been transformed into the back up dancers from the popular movie Step Up. Our experience at Engg. Week was not unlike a trip into Narnia. It was magical, eye-opening and we never wanted it to end. Alas, we were still business students and we had to get back to Haskayne to make our closing trades before the stock market closed for the weekend.
From Engg. Week we learned a valuable lesson about engineers in general. They are extremely passionate about everything they do. Whether it be calculating some ridiculous torque strength of some metal, drinking beer or raising money for charity, they go all out. Throughout Engg. Week thousands of beers were consumed, thousands of students had the time of their lives and thousands of dollars were raised for charity. Engineers may be the most awkward out of all the faculties. But they work harder than anyone else, play harder than anyone else and give back to society wherever and whenever they can.