Lebanese American University


Fostering kinship among engineers

Engineering students interact with alumni and professionals in the field in a two-day retreat organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter.


The students at the Order of Engineers in Tripoli.


Extracurricular activities relieve the stress on students and help them further enjoy their stay at LAU, says professor John Khoury.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter, which was awarded the prize for the most active student club at LAU last year, has once again exhibited its energetic drive. 

The annual retreat designed to bring together LAU engineering students and alumni was held in the Cedars last week. The increasingly popular two-day event, launched three years ago, allows students to attend at least one formal seminar or presentation given by a senior engineer or faculty on a major civil engineering project.

“The idea of the reunion came about because it is extremely beneficial to strengthen the bonds among engineering students and between them and professionals in the field,” said student Najib Zgheib, president of the ASCE club. “We are part of a community, therefore it is fundamental to interact and keep in touch.”

Thanks to the hard work of Zgheib and to the support of LAU and external sponsors – Dunkin Donuts and the Geotechnical Foundation Experts – the initiative drew around 80 participants.

Before reaching the northern mountains, the group stopped at the Order of Engineers in Tripoli where its president, Marius Beaini, hosted an in-depth discussion on the workings of the order and its membership requirements.

The information delivered by Beaini was particularly useful to the students graduating this fall who will be the first ones to take the new exam recognized by the order.

“We were given some very helpful advice that I will keep in mind when I prepare for the exam,” said Mireille Salim Fadous, a final year engineering student.

The interaction with LAU alumni who recently began their careers also provided the students with insight into what to expect after graduation. “We asked them lots of questions about their job interviews, the best courses to take at LAU, their experience with their current companies and so on,” said Stephanie Mansour, also a final year engineering student who participated in the event for the first time. “I feel this experience has created a sense of brotherhood among students.”

The Civil Engineering department supports the ASCE Chapter activities by providing speakers, conference rooms, or trip subsidies while the LAU student services office takes charge of the students’ transportation and insurance.

The board members of the chapter – the main drivers behind the event – are elected annually by all members and tasked with setting up a plan for the year in collaboration with Assistant Professor John Khoury, their faculty advisor. Such plan includes lectures, field trips, seminars, an annual retreat and an annual dinner to conclude the academic year.

“Extracurricular activities relieve the stress on students and help them further enjoy their stay at LAU. This can contribute to better academic achievements while also building a strong bond among students that can improve team spirit and campus life,” said Khoury. “LAU’s vision is not only to develop technically skilled professionals, but also socially active alumni and leaders of the future and it’s through such activities that students learn the importance of social engagement in their future careers.”


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