For the March/April spotlight, Gonzaga University student chapter president Madelyn Cayton reflects on the inaugural year of the Gonzaga University Student Chapter.
Gonzaga University has had an ITE student chapter for several years but it wasn’t until Fall 2019 that it became an established club on campus. A few students who were interested in transportation engineering decided to contact Dr. Rhonda Young, our transportation engineering professor, and with her help, we were able to bring fresh energy to the student chapter.
Since then, we have focused our efforts primarily on community service and professional development. Last fall our student chapter worked with the City of Spokane to create a popup temporary cycle track near campus. We hope to work closely with the City in upcoming transit and multi-modal focused projects in the years to come. We have also been organizing a bike drive to collect bicycles from the community, which will then be refurbished and donated to children in Northeast Spokane. This is part of a campus-wide initiative for the Gonzaga to better serve Northeast Spokane, which is an area of the city that historically has faced significant economic challenges.
In addition to our community service focus, we have made sure to provide our members with plenty of opportunities to network and learn about careers in the transportation industry. This spring we hosted an ITE Washington Industry night which brought together several employers and three ITE Student Chapters to connect and learn about developing a career in transportation engineering. Our members are regular attendees of seminars hosted by Women’s Transportation Seminar, American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Gonzaga University Civil Engineering faculty on campus. These events allow our members to get an idea of what a career in the transportation field looks like while seeking out professional opportunities.
Along with supporting our community and fostering professional development, another important part of our student chapter is to allow students to learn more about the transportation industry. This is where the Endowment Fund has been the most beneficial to us. This summer, we hope to send members to the Western ITE Annual Conference, providing us with the opportunity to network with professionals in the transportation industry and other student chapters. Our goal for next year is to send our officer team to the Western ITE Leadership Summit to learn more about how we can continue to grow our student chapter and develop engaging activities for our members.
Contributions to the Endowment Fund can be made at westernite.org/endowment-fund/endowment-fund-contribute/