E2 Camp: Engineers from Day One
Four years ago, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering launched an innovative orientation for freshman engineering students—E2 Camp. Each year we raise the bar on this very important event for our incoming freshmen. Faculty, staff, alumni and current students all participate, giving their time and talent to ensure that our new engineers get off to a solid start.
E2 Camp is the first step in our “Engineers from Day One” philosophy. Students are introduced to the significant roles that engineers play in shaping our world, and have the opportunity to acclimate to university life prior to the start of classes.
“When we started school, we just showed up. We didn’t have the same sense of community that E2 Camp creates for these students,” says Rick Hudson, class of ’87 and Engineering Alumni Chapter president.
Hudson and others have been active volunteers, citing the importance of fostering early relationships. Alumni have the opportunity to meet new students and share their own engineering experience.
“While you get an engineering degree yourself, you get through it with a group of people. E2 Camp helps new students form those relationships that will help them achieve success,” says Chris Kmetty, class of ‘97.
Kmetty has continued his involvement with Fulton Engineering and was an early proponent for making E2 Camp one of the alumni chapter’s signature events.
Kmetty notes that he sees peer mentors—current students who volunteer their time to help younger students—share cell phone numbers with freshmen at the end of camp. The relationships built at camp give new students a contact if they are feeling overwhelmed or confused about their classes or university life, or just need to talk to someone who has had the same struggles and can offer advice.
“It seems like a little thing, but it makes a huge difference to a new student to have someone to reach out to for help. It can mean the difference between giving up and getting through,” Kmetty says.
Understanding just how much a mentor can help a struggling student, Kmetty has stayed in touch with students he has met at E2 Camp offering advice, facilitating tours and helping students to find jobs.
At E2 Camp, students participate in team projects, physical challenges, competitions and workshops—all designed to reinforce core concepts of team building and problem solving.
“Out in the real world, everything is based on teams. E2 Camp provides a good sense of how to work in a team. And, that extends to the peer mentors as well,” says Devarajan “Srini” Srinivasan, class of ’97 and ‘02. “They continue to build skills and gain leadership experience.”
Kmetty says, “Students are learning leadership skills that they don’t even know they are being taught.”
Lys Lieber, class of ’75 and ’84, has attended camp in the past, but didn’t have time to go this year. Instead, she volunteered on campus, helping with send-off for each of the camps.
“It was quite a crush, but a lot of fun. I was still able to meet new students and help out, plus I learned about other activities from the Engineering staff,” Lieber says.
Alums who participate in E2 Camp all say that the goal is to let students know that they are connected.
“We can share our experiences with students as they are just beginning. Participation in activities like E2 Camp also allows me to meet students—whether new freshmen or peer mentors—who may be interested in working at SRP. These are our future leaders,” says Hudson.
The first group of students who went through E2 Camp is graduating this year. Hudson hopes that as engineering alumni, they will continue to come back and stay involved knowing the advantages that E2 Camp and other ASU engineering experiences gave to them.
Approximately 1,275 freshmen joined the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering this fall—a record incoming class.
“Dean Johnson is there at every camp to greet new students on day one. I don’t know of many jobs where the CEO welcomes you on the day you start,” says Kmetty. “That is the kind of commitment to success that these students will enjoy throughout their engineering experience.”