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Chapters Use Opportunity Fund To Launch Outreach Programs

Chapters Use Opportunity Fund To Launch Outreach Programs

From eSociety, January 2017

A new lab that highlights hands-on engineering and construction as well as ASHRAE resources is one project being funded under a new Society Chapter Opportunity fund.

As part of the theme of “Adapting Today to Shape Tomorrow,” President Tim Wentz set a directive to “adapt ASHRAE investments to energize chapters and engage members.” One of the initiatives under the directive was to create a chapter opportunity fund, allowing chapters to invest in a meaningful and expedient way to energize their members and improve their communities by demonstrating the impact of ASHRAE.

The Ozarks Chapter has received funding to support a student branch and develop a mechanical, engineering and plumbing lab facility at Missouri State University.

Jacob Nelson, who serves as the chapter’s Student Activities chair, is also an instructor for the Technology and Construction Management Department at the university.

Nelson has more than 70 students in his class, of whom 10 to 15 are focused on HVAC/mechanical field. He is in the process of constructing the mechanical, electrical and plumbing portions of the lab, which will allow students to observe installation of ductwork, fan coil units, variable air volume boxes and other equipment. It also will provide hands-on application on how components are installed, controlled, balanced and maintained.

The Springfield Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) has been helping develop the lab, according to Nelson.

“This allows students to see both the engineering and mechanical contracting side of construction, and the teamwork required for a successful project,” Nelson said.

“This project was a no brainer for our chapter to go to the Society for the funds,” Mitch Case, chapter president, said. “We have been trying to get a student branch at the university for a while. Jacob has had this vision and it is coming to life. The Ozarks Chapter stands behind him, not only in getting a student branch started but also allowing students to get hands-on experience, as well as rubbing shoulders with those in the industry who may have the potential to hire them for internships or bring them on full time after graduation.”

The construction of the lab is currently in the first phase. With continued support from ASHRAE, MCAA and local vendors, Nelson anticipates all phases to be completed within a reasonable timeframe.

The chapter will use its funds to host student events that focus on different aspects in the construction of finishing a room.  The events will feature a host company as well as a mechanical engineer, mechanical contractor and vendor.

In addition to the Ozarks Chapter project, other projects identified so far are:

Region II

Quebec City Chapter is funding three meetings, including remote live streaming access, because  many members do not live near meeting locations.
Ottawa Valley Chapter will support a K-12 regional science fair and the Algonquin College Design competition.
Windsor Chapter will host an invitation-only event for local firms and industry professionals to promote ASHRAE and the chapter.

Regions VIII and XII

Regions VIII and XII plan to offer chapter operations training for chapters in Mexico, South and Central America and the Caribbean, covering expenses for chapter presidents-elect.

Region X

Region X’s Orange County Chapter will present a technical program on plumbing aspects of the Garden Grove Great Wolf Lodge.

Region I

Region I’s Central New York chapter will expand its Steamboat Challenge Program.  Now in its third year, the Steamboat Challenge is a collaboration between the chapter and other local organizations to motivate and encourage youth to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  ASHRAE volunteers have visited more than 30 schools and provided education and demonstrations of thermodynamic principles to more than 800 students. The chapter also will receive funds to support a Smart-Start Weekend, which is a weekend workshop and training program for student members of ASHRAE.  The event will be held at Syracuse University and will provide participants with information on the HVAC&R industry, networking opportunities with YEA members, introductory technical training on HVAC&R and the link between ASHRAE and the HVAC&R industry.