Being in the Skempton past 18:00 seems to be the norm this late in to the spring term, but on Tuesday 11th March there was another agenda that kept the civil engineers back late. It wasn’t coursework, it wasn’t overdue tutorial sheets and surprisingly it wasn’t the pre match build up to Bayern vs. Arsenal. The engineering philosophy night was back, and by popular demand, the event has secured its place on everyone’s calendar like Christmas Day. This LIVIC editor has to hold his head in shame, I was absent for the first one, but this time I was raring to go and not even an entire day of finite element analysis was going to stop me making the most of it.
“A great way to express yourself and just talk” Melanie Singh
Our Events & Sports Officer nearly went from hero to zero when the tablecloths didn’t fit any of the tables; luckily we were in a room full of engineers and creative people, so tablecloths quickly became the platform for ideas and mind maps. The conversation was already flowing well before the event had officially started, partial derivatives may be our forté but conversation is definitely not alien to us. Topics ranging from engineers being the protagonist for a fictional book to the recent flooding in the UK filled 301 with heated discussion. Those were only the starter topics, designed to get everyone comfortable with discussion; from what I could see no one had any problems expressing themselves.
“To create a forum for discussion like this is remarkable” - Dr Aifric Campbell
The wine was flowing, cheese was being devoured and discussion was reaching a fever pitch. Plenty of topics were flying around the room; from the creation of a civil engineering super hero to removal of the environmental agency and a dictatorship regime being enforced. Perhaps the wine was flowing a little too well! My favourite discussion was whether our degree sucks out our creativity; it’s a bit of a controversial topic and there were strong points made by a lot of people. That one topic summed up exactly why the engineering philosophy night was so successful, it allowed people a platform to bring up the points that they might feel weren’t suitable for discussion as well as giving everyone else an opportunity to respond.
“It’s a place where you can say unsayable things” - Alison Ahearn
Before I knew it, the big hand was at 12 and the little hand was at 8, but no one was in any mood to leave. Everyone was so engaged in discussion it didn’t cross anyone’s mind that the event had actually finished. That’s what was beautiful about the whole night; a barrier had been broken down between students and staff. It didn’t take a formal networking dinner where everyone was dressed up and trying to impress. It took place in the heart of the Skempton, in a room that staff had taught in and students were all too familiar with; everyone could be themselves and express themselves as much as they wanted. All it took was some wine, cheese, crisps, a few small tablecloths and a willingness to engage from both student and staff, which was in abundance.
“Maybe I’m getting really old and full, or maybe my lecturers are really funny” – Karl Stenbacka
I didn’t speak to a single person who didn’t enjoy the event, everyone had loved it. Great talks, great wine and great cheese (Bellamy, 2014) was an apt way to sum up the whole night. It’s a great way to get your know your lecturers better, and to develop opinions surrounding current issues as well as philosophical questions surrounding engineering. For those of you who didn’t come, shame on you, there may be a repeat of the event in the summer term so make sure you get your name down for that, it will be an event that should definitely not be missed. Lastly, a big thanks to all the lecturers who participated including Dr Aifric Campbell from the Centre for Co-Curricular Studies and to CivSoc for organising another stellar event.