Us engineering students are often criticized for being uncreative, likely due to engineeríng’s association with mathematics and physics, both technical and theory-based subjects – but what would engineering be without invention and innovation? What is often easily forgotten and overlooked is the fact that the engineering field can be a bank of ideas; engineers are constantly required to think creatively to invent and innovate solutions to the world’s problems, large and small. So although engineering is undoubtedly a technical field, an understanding of science and mathematics isn’t everything – creativity is highly valued too!

The promotional posters for only three of the many events we had to start off the new academic year, and see off 2017!

In the past three months, the creative potential of USMC students has shone through the display of artistic talent; firstly, the new academic year began with the Student Association (USMCSA) announcing the news of a Mascot Design Competition, an event conducted in partnership with the university itself! It was about time for us, as the Malaysian Campus of University of Southampton, to have a fitting mascot – and who better to decide what sort of mascot should be representative of the university than the students themselves?

Our esteemed panel of judges, seen here giving 100% of their attention during one of the presentations.

The peak of the competition came in the form of Judging Day, where the students behind each of the 8 designs submitted presented their ideas to our special panel of judges. Once all the presentations had been made, the panel of judges carefully deliberated over aspects of each design – such as creativity, originality, relevance to the campus identity and incorporation of engineering traits – as well as the results of the online student vote that had been conducted prior to Judging Day. After much discussion, the judges were able to agree on the Top 3 designs, and it was time to reveal what image the mascot of USMC would take on! With its crisp yet smooth appearance, the animatronic design of the Robotic Malaysian Rhinoceros Hornbill, submitted by Kimberly and Derek (both from EFY) came out on top. To appreciate all of the great designs that were submitted, flip through this Facebook album.

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Next came yet another event run by the USMCSA, the annual T-Shirt Design Competition. However, unlike previous years, it was decided that rather than a typical cotton t-shirt, the university shirt of 2017/18 would be of jersey material; so now, all USMC students can have the appropriate apparel to represent the university at all times, including sporting events! An astounding total of 16 designs were submitted, and the results of the student vote showed a close battle between a good number of the designs. In the end, the winning design came in the form of a sleek white-on-black design featuring the University of Southampton crest, submitted by Keagan (from Mech Year 2). You can check out all the submissions here!

The Music Club met expectations, and it was a great time for everyone in attendance!

And last but not least, a different kind of artistic talent took the spotlight before we parted for the Christmas break, with the USMC Music Club’s open mic event! After their successful Open Mic Night helped us bid goodbye to the academic year of 2016/17 on a good note, the Music Club cemented their open mic event as a highly anticipated annual tradition with this year’s Ho Ho HOpen Mic 2017. Hosted on a Friday evening, the talented members of the Music Club performed both festive and popular favourites that had everyone singing, rapping and waving their phones-turned-flashlights along for a solid 4 hours of some much needed fun – and of course, true to its name, there were also a number of surprise performances by both students and staff! Unfortunately, at the time of writing, not all of the videos of the night’s performances have been made public; however, in the meantime, you’re welcome to check out the performances from the Music Club’s first Open Mic Night (the playlist is shown below) and you can subscribe to the Music Club’s YouTube channel to be updated on when the videos of the Ho Ho HOpen Mic 2017 are published!

By this point of the post, it should be clear that despite what some might think, engineering students are clearly able to be extremely creative and skilled in areas associated with more “right-brained” majors – but where’s the proof that the engineering field itself is full of creativity? Well, seeing is believing and USMCIET will be hosting the first event of 2018, ‘The Great Egg Challenge’, on Friday 5th January; the event will challenge its participants to use a limited range of materials to create various structures to ensure the safety of their eggs as they go through a series of different challenges, much like how engineers are expected to think creatively to produce efficient and foolproof solutions to the problems presented to them – and such solutions can only materialise through the exploration of different ideas and possible approaches. For details of the event and how to participate, you can head to USMCIET’S Facebook page – and if you’d rather see creative minds at work rather than testing your own creativity, do feel welcome to spectate what promises to be an egg-citing event! And for those you who won’t be able to make it, keep your eyes peeled for a recap to be posted by Yi Xien, the President of USMCIET 2017/18.

Phew, with all that’s been said and shown just by using our campus as proof, I doubt anyone can dare to say that this bunch of engineering students are uncreative now!

Photo Credits: Sean Ng (Mascot Design Competition), Lai Chung Kwan (Ho Ho HOpen Mic 2017).

Creativity and Engineering

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