San Jose State University hosted the virtual 2022 Western District Student Leadership Summit (SLS) from January 28th-30th. This event brought students from various chapters, including those from Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, and California, all together. Over the span of 3 days, student members were encouraged to focus on interpersonal development, ways to be more aware of personal wellness, equity in transportation, and exposure to different technical work in the industry.
As a result of the pandemic, the SLS was hosted virtually this year and allowed attendees to sit-in from the comfort of their own home. The first day was the summit’s social event, “Where in the World Is Derek in San Jose?”, an interactive game meant to give the attendees a ‘virtual’ tour of San Jose. With groups of 5, teams were tasked to find San Jose State’s ITE Vice President through a series of clues and exploration.
Following that, Saturday was the core of our interpersonal development sessions. The first session was a ‘A Year in Review’, where student chapters had the chance to share the challenges brought to them by COVID-19 and how they adapted. This gave a unique perspective of the creativity different schools used to better engage with their members in an online setting. During the SLS, industry professionals talked about how to advance in your transportation career, which gave students a better understanding of different paths one can take and the resources ITE can provide to help. Saturday afternoon, attendees engaged in speed interviews and resume workshops to practice their communication skills and to gain more insight on how to best present themselves on a 8.5 x 11” paper. Saturday afternoon culminated in a presentation on various projects that prioritize social equity concerns within the design and planning process. Some of the topics included the impact of data analytics to improve the road networks, importance of public transit systems in lower income communities, and integration of analytics to combat human trafficking by use of transit monitoring.
The last day of SLS was devoted to technical presentations where professionals spoke on topics such as microsimulation, signal operations, the future of rapid transit systems, and transportation planning. Attendees were able to gain insight on the practical applications of emerging technology and how it is being integrated into real life projects.
This was San Jose State’s first time hosting a Student Leadership Summit and was successfully organized by the SJSU ITE officers. There was great feedback from students who attended the SLS saying that the sessions helped them see different aspects of transportation careers, research, and the impact transportation professionals have on their communities. Given the fact that the 2022 SLS was hosted virtually, it gave more opportunities for those who live further away a chance to participate and experience this summit. We hope to see this tradition continue and are thankful to all of the attendees, professionals, and sponsors who were able to make this a memorable event.