Local organizations joined with campus science clubs Wednesday to show students opportunities to get involved outside the classroom. 

Hammer-shaped pins and reusable straws were just some of the giveaways from the sixteen groups that met with new and prospective majors.

The UTC College of Engineering and Computer Science Center for Student Success held a Community Expo Day Jan. 19 that included competitions, projects and professional organizations, along with places to volunteer that are minutes away.

“This is the first community expo,” said Dr. Yaritza Moore, first-year experience coordinator for the center. 

“The expo replaces Stay On Board, the spring counterpart to the annual fall event Get On Board, where students can meet the college’s groups and associations all in one place. The center has a community involvement mission”. Moore said. “This semester the center invited the Salvation Army, the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, and the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, all within two miles of campus, to take part in the expo.” 

Other off-campus groups included Chattanooga Preparatory School, where UTC students can lead STEM groups, the Girl Scouts, and Green Spaces, which addresses public environmental concerns. Habitat for Humanity brought birdhouse kits, which participants could assemble for sale in Habitat's store. 

The ChemECar and Mechatronics clubs showcased models of their work at their tables, while the Racing Mocs parked their off-road terrain vehicle in the hallway of the Engineering, Math and Computer Science Building, where the event took place. 

A new competition this year, the Solar Decathlon, combines the work of multiple fields in building a house that uses renewable energy. The international contest sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy spans several areas of engineering along with interior design and business.

“This was a good turnout for COVID, with a good variety of organizations," said Mary Margaret Sullivan, outreach coordinator for the center. Sullivan is looking forward to evening more variety next year. 

Moore noted one organizer was not only pleased with the number of students who signed up, but some of them also came up with additional ways to volunteer.

"When students can connect what they are learning to impact and how it can apply to the real world and make a difference, that helps them stay in school and succeed when they have that community piece," Moore said. "Both sides will benefit."

The college also has groups for campus ambassadors and student-athletes and student chapters of national organizations for the fields. 


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