I have been looking forward to Engineering and Humanity Week 2012 since I woke up from the Shelter Box tent where I stayed last year. Well, maybe after a few days back in my own bed. There was great excitement surrounding the week. It seemed everyone was talking about it, and we got to sit (or sleep…) right in the middle of it all.
The Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity was a large component of why I was set on coming to SMU. I spent most of my day today at the Fairmont Hotel downtown hearing from the smartest minds in the world battling poverty with collaboration and innovation in technology and business, while I spent most of Saturday packing gift bags with a double Emmy-winning sports anchor and a great-grandmother, event-planning extraordinaire with some of the greatest stories I have ever heard. As I am finishing my second year here and reflecting back on all that I have had the opportunity to experience, I realize now more than ever how blessed I am – how blessed we are as students at SMU. Time passes by, and I’m halfway done with my undergraduate study.
I was speaking with a friend of mine today, who will also be living in the Village this week, who attended some of the presentations with me today. He said something that reminded me of why SMU is distinct from many other great schools around the country: “I am so pumped about everything I want to do!” This was said in the context of doing engineering for the good of the world, especially those with great needs.
This is exactly what we are given at Lyle that isn’t the same everywhere in the country: inspiration. We are inspired. We are inspired constantly. And that is why we have students giving up their days to build homes and shelters and to sleep outside of their own bed. We are trained not only in the technical skills and knowledge necessary to become a professional engineer, but also to understand and live by our motto “No problem too big.” We actually believe our professors and faculty when they tell us this. Not because they tell us, but because their passion is contagious, enticing us to join their progress. After all, they’ve proved it.
As we begin a week that may look like an engineering campout/sleepover, I must remind us all that this is significantly bigger than anything happening on SMU’s campus. Students are experiencing an enlightenment of sorts that real solutions can bring and are bringing refuge to the impoverished of the world. It is a time for learning. I wouldn’t be surprised if our Village residents came up with ideas of their own to aid in housing the homeless. Actually, I would be surprised if they didn’t.
More throughout the week.