Pi Rho Chapter, the U-M chapter of the Pi Tau Sigma national mechanical engineering honors society, received both Best Chapter and Best Service Chapter Awards during the PTS National Convention held February 21-23 in College Park, Maryland.
“There are 161 active PTS Chapters, so, these awards are major achievements by our Chapter, especially receiving both awards in the same year,” said ME Professor Massoud Kaviany, who serves as chapter advisor and Central-Region Vice-President of PTS National Council. “All PTS Officers have performed their responsibilities with excellence, particularly the current President Grant Weber and the immediate-past President Lauren Parkins. These students represent the best in the University, College, and Department, and we are very proud of them.”
Prior to the national convention, chapters complete an awards application where they discuss how their chapter has met the PTS goals of fostering high ideals in the engineering profession, stimulating and supporting departmental activities, promoting the professional welfare of members, and developing leadership and citizenship in members. The application also collected information about the level of involvement of its members, as well as the percentage of members who have served as officers. This document is presented to chapter delegates for voting at the convention.
The chapter award is given for overall activities, a high level of involvement by members, and a high degree of commitment by members and officers. The service award specifically recognizes the chapter’s activities in the areas of community service and service to the engineering community.
“Part of the reason we attend this convention is so we can see what other schools are doing, so we can improve our own chapter,” said Corresponding Secretary Rahul Sathe. “We came away with the feeling that we had one of the best-organized chapters.” Pi Rho is heavily involved in the department. The group is represented on both the Planning Committee and the ME Student Leader Board, coordinates a Tech Day design event, and co-hosts with ASME the student-faculty pancake breakfast. Pi Rho also maintains the popular ME Survival Guide, provides tutoring services, and volunteers at Ronald McDonald House.
“Our main fundraiser is grilling brats on the diag,” said Secretary of Affairs Greg Braziunas, who at previously served as the “Brat Chair” coordinating the cookouts and now continues to lend a hand at grilling just because he likes it. Brats are sold for $2 every Wednesday and Thursday lunchtime, during good weather.
“It gives us an opportunity for us to interact with the initiates,” said Sathe, who also steps up to the grill regularly. Both officers were grateful to the ME department, which funded the officers’ trip to the convention. Attending this year’s convention were Sathe and Braziunas, as well as Publicity Chair Heather Landis, Date Auction Chair Francesca Vitale, and Webmaster Tony Vittorini.
“We left the convention with the feeling that our chapter is not only one of the largest, but one of the best organized and motivated in the nation,” wrote Sathe in a memo thanking Professor Greg Hulbert (who advocated for funding the trip) and the department. “We could not achieve such acclaim or such high standards without the fantastic help from yourself and the Mechanical Engineering Department.”