Cockrell students make splash at Cockrell Kickoff

Laura Morales

Students from the Cockrell School of Engineering gathered Saturday to swim, listen to music and eat a buffet of food at Cockrell Kickoff, an annual event that allows engineering students to gather and connect with their peers.

Cockrell Kickoff is hosted by the Engineering Activities Committee of the Student Engineering Council, and all engineering students were invited to attend.

“Kickoff is an opportunity for all the engineering students to reconnect with their peers,” EAC co-director Simon Kliewer said.

Attendance is usually dominated by members of engineering-associated student organizations, EAC co-director Flannery Thompson said. This year, the committee was hoping to change that.

“We thought, ‘What about the majority of the engineering student population who aren’t in those organizations?’” Thompson said. “This year, we are really trying to tackle a new way of publicizing our events and hosting events that really attract students that currently aren’t involved in anything else.”

Among the students who attended the event at Gregory Gym was aerospace engineering sophomore Zoelle Wong, who heard about the event through Facebook.

“It’s a great opportunity for everyone in the engineering department to actually get to know each other,” Wong said. “In engineering, it’s very rare to find events where fourth years interact with first years, and even more rare for chemical engineers to interact with someone from aerospace.”

Last year, it has been combined with Gone to Engineering, an event geared toward freshman. This is the first year that Gregory Gym hosted the event. Kliewer said this was part of the effort to make the event more appealing to those outside of the organization and to upperclassmen.

Electrical engineering freshman Teddy Hsieh said he saw people from different engineering majors interacting.

“I am seeing a lot of conversations around me and people seem to be getting along pretty well,” Hsieh said. “Engineers wouldn’t normally strike up a conversation as easily as they would at something like this.”

This event comes at a time when the SEC as a whole is spearheading a larger push toward a more connected network of Cockrell organizations.

“With this new initiative, we’re try to get individuals to meet new people in other organizations and majors,” SEC president Aashima Garg said. “Having interweaving organizations will foster a closer community, and that’s the goal. We try to bring as many engineers as possible and show them they can have a good time outside of class, just like at the pool.”