EERC hosts first student-run event

Katie Balevic

The Engineering Education and Research Center had its first major social event on Friday night since its opening in August.

The new building donned Christmas lights and poker tables for the casino-themed event co-hosted by the Student Engineering Council and the Texas Blazers, a service organization. All of the proceeds from the evening went to hurricane relief in Puerto Rico through International Relief Teams.

“This event is unique because it’s the first student-hosted event in the EERC,” said Kalli Kiefer, SEC service co-director. “It’s really neat to see that we’re touching people that aren’t just in SEC or (engineering) organizations.”

There were complications with being the first organization to host an event at the brand new building, said Kiefer, mechanical engineering sophomore.

“There were a lot of things that hadn’t been figured out yet because the building has never been used for events like this,” Kiefer said. “From things like lighting to audio to dealing with alarm systems … just using the physical space was a big task.”

SEC was able to utilize the excitement of the new building to gain attention for the event, said Viren Joopelli, chemical engineering sophomore.

“(There is) hype of this brand new building and all of the lights and decorations,” Joopelli said. “That’s one of the reasons why the event was attractive in the first place.”

Casino Night was a good welcome for the building and for the attendees, Joopelli said.

“It’s been successful in terms of the amount of money raised and the general atmosphere,” Joopelli said. “One of the things that I like about these types of events is that they mobilize the broader UT community … A lot of the people here are not engineers.”

For accounting junior Mary Elise Chipongian, Casino Night was an opportunity to see the new building.

“I think that when a new building is built on campus, everyone gets excited about it,” Chipongian said. “It’s a celebration of being a Longhorn.”

Students also have a responsibility to help those in need, Chipongian said.

“You don’t just celebrate with people,” Chipongian said. “You have to band together in times of difficulty. We’re coming together with the UT community, not just celebrating, but doing it in a way that … also helps other people.”