IEEE Day Celebrations Span Six Continents

Read how members around the world celebrated

5 November 2010

An idea conceived by a single IEEE member sparked 75 celebrations involving thousands of people around the world this year. IEEE Day spanned two days, 7 and 8 October, to give sections and other geographic units flexibility in planning their celebrations. Included were technical talks and seminars, university campus events, workshops, pizza parties—however local IEEE units chose to celebrate the occasion.

The idea for the special day was one of the winning entries in a contest held this year, the 2010 IEEE Member and Geographic Activities Challenge. IEEE members were asked to submit ideas for projects that would deliver tangible products and services, and increase the value of IEEE membership. Member Salima Kaissi had a winning proposal.

Kaissi, the Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) chair of the France Section and member of the Region 8 GOLD committee, founded the first IEEE Student Branch in Morocco in 2005 at the National School of Applied Sciences, in Tangier. She says her idea for IEEE Day was inspired by IEEE events held in 2009. First there were the numerous worldwide events sparked by the celebration of IEEE’s 125th anniversary. Then there was IEEEXtreme, the annual global software challenge in which teams of IEEE student members compete to solve a set of programming problems within 24 hours.

“Although I did not participate in IEEEXtreme, I followed it on Facebook and was intrigued by the interaction between members from different countries who were updating their progress and sharing photos of their teams,” Kaissi says. IEEEXtreme was for students only, however, and Kaissi wanted to involve more people.

“I wanted an annual event in which all members could celebrate IEEE,” she says. “And another anniversary event probably wouldn’t occur for at least another five years.” So she suggested celebrating an IEEE Day, which was held on 7 and 8 October. Some events were held a few days before or after to accommodate units with scheduling conflicts.

IEEE Day events took place on six continents and in all 10 IEEE regions.

TALKS AND INDUSTRY VISITS
Members of the IEEE Uruguay Section celebrated by holding several lectures. With support from the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society and the GOLD group in Uruguay, student members from the University of the Republic and Catholic University, both in Montevideo, organized an IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society Distinguished Lecturers Tour. Four industry experts from the United States and India traveled to Cidade Universitária, in São Paolo, Brazil, on 5 October, and to the University of the Republic in Montevideo two days later to talk about the challenges in designing CMOS wireless systems-on-a-chip, and about microprocessor design in the nanoscale era.

The IEEE South Africa Section’s Educational Activities chair, Excellent Sithole, organized a Q&A session about IEEE with co-workers at his employer, Denel Dynamics, in Centurion, which manufactures tactical missiles, precision-guided weapons, and unmanned aerial vehicles . Sithole gave an overview of IEEE and highlighted the benefits of membership.

IEEE student members at the Princess Sumaya University for Technology, in Amman, Jordan, held Linux Fest under the IEEE banner—a day of seminars and hands-on workshops dedicated to promoting Linux and other open-source software such as Ubuntu, a Linux derivative. The event, which took place on 9 October on the university campus, was free and open to people with any level of programming knowledge.

Sessions and workshops were taught by representatives from Web technology companies including Google and Jeeran, a Web-hosting company in Amman. Topics included gaming with Linux, Ubuntu for beginners, and creating extensions for the Google Chrome Web browser and applications for the Android mobile operating system. Members of the Jordan Open Source Association, created to promote open-source applications, stood ready to install Linux on attendees’ computers.

BARBECUE, BAKING, BOWLING
Some IEEE members just wanted to have fun. A pair of student branches in Australia celebrated IEEE Day by taking to the outdoors. On 7 October, the Australian National University's IEEE student branch, in Canberra, and the University of Queensland IEEE student branch’s Power & Energy Society chapter each held barbecues on their campus to promote IEEE and encourage people to join.

The IEEE Women in Engineering group’s professional and student chapters in Ottawa, Ont., Canada, celebrated the event on 7 October at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University by giving away free home-baked cupcakes decorated with the IEEE logo.

Also on 7 October, IEEE student branch members from five New Jersey schools threw an IEEE Day party in the Stevens Institute of Technology’s bowling alley, in Hoboken. Student members from Stevens as well as from County College of Morris, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Montclair University, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology competed in friendly bowling tournaments and networked while eating pizza.

PHOTO FINISH
IEEE members were invited to post photographs of their activities to the IEEE Day Web site’s photo gallery before 16 October for a chance to win one of 10 prizes. Photos had to be of members participating in an IEEE Day event such as teaching in a classroom, working in a lab, giving a tech talk, or building equipment. All IEEE members were invited to vote on their favorite photos. Owners of the 10 top-rated photos received US $300, and their organizational units received $600.

This year’s IEEE Day was the first but might not be the last. The IEEE Member and Geographic Activities Board is scheduled to decide on 18 November whether to have it again next year.

The turnout was impressive, according to Susan Hutton, project manager with MGA, in Piscataway, N.J. “This program far exceeded our expectations,” Hutton says. “With only about three months to plan, a very small committee managed to engage thousands of members across the globe to celebrate IEEE.”

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