Engineering students came together to experience the Student Leadership and Innovation Fund in Engineering (LIFE) Forum in St. John’s at the Delta Hotel, Sept. 26.
By Jody Rotchford
On Saturday, Sept. 26, more than 60 engineering students came together to experience the Student Leadership and Innovation Fund in Engineering (LIFE) Forum at the Delta Hotel in St. John’s. Despite the early start to the day, the excitement and enthusiasm of the students was apparent. David Sharpe, Engineering Student Society B’s president, was pleased with the level of enthusiasm shown by the participants.
“I hope this event continues to inspire students by opening their eyes to their personal potential and encouraging them to maximize their abilities,” he said.
The day began with words of welcome from Dr. Steve Bruneau on behalf of his parents Drs. Angus and Jean Bruneau, founders of the Angus Bruneau Student Leadership and Innovation Fund in Engineering. A longtime supporter of the faculty, Dr. Angus Bruneau’s relationship with Memorial University began in 1968 when he established the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and served as its first dean. Dr. Bruneau also led the development of the co-operative engineering program, an innovation offered at only one other Canadian university at the time. Despite not being able to attend the forum, Dr. Steve Bruneau told students that his parents wished them great success.
The morning took a physical turn as Tom Brophy, director of Student Success Programs, got students out of their seats and interacting with each other and faculty members through P.U.M.P, Atlantic Canada’s largest group mixer activity. The forum’s keynote speaker, Earl Ludlow, president and CEO of Newfoundland Power Inc., inspired students by discussing the challenges and successes he has experienced in his professional career. Brendan Brothers, a co-founder of local company Verafin, gave the company address and encouraged students to “think big” by talking about his company’s journey from a concept being tossed around by friends to becoming the North American leader in fraud-detection software. Throughout the day, students took part in a number of break-out sessions that focused on the role of leadership and innovation in international development, entrepreneurism and sustainability.
The Angus Bruneau Student LIFE program encourages and supports student leadership and innovation in engineering education, research and community service. The program provides funding for student-led initiatives that significantly enhance the experience of students in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University, and supports initiatives that would not normally be funded through the faculty’s operating budget.