"A New Beginning" - Babak Razani - Fall 1995
Babak was the first of the presidents that began to turn a small, unnoticed,and unimportant CA Alpha Cahpter into one of the powerhouse societies in the College of Engineering (and in some sense, in the Nation) that you see today. The following is his comments on the chapter today, his vision when he was president, and suggestions for future presidents and officers, written and edited during Fall 1998.
I was shocked at the number of activities you had and the 40 or so candidates. That is great to see since I so-to-speak always envisioned a TBP like this for Cal. Don't let it die off and I think the best way of doing this is to keep the officer core HUGE. I had this philosophy when I became president but later people didn't necessarily agree. Well I guess this is a good segue into the Fall 1995 semester. As a background, I rose up in the ranking of TBP from EJC Rep 1st semester (under president Andy Wang),to activities director (under president James Hong), to president. During the spring semester with James Hong, I coordinated a lot of the activities TBP did. The unique events that semester were the Engineering Blood Drive (the 1st of its kind for Engineering I belive and very successfull indeed), the MOMA field trip, and perhaps a few others. You should keep in mind that only a few semesters previous to this, the CA Alpha chapter was a very small chapter and not generating the interest it demanded. 1st with Andy Wang and then with James Hong this trend was stopped and turned around.
So I became president at a nice transition time where the chapter was succeeding again and my goal was to continue the hard work of the previous officers.
The semester can be split into two periods (pre- and post- National convention). Before the convention, my ideas were to carry on similar activities to the previous semester with a few additions and improvements so as to continue the trend set before us.
To broaden our involvement in the 15th district, I had volunteered our group to host the Fall District meeting. The turn-out was ok and it was a general success. A problem needing a fix was the lack of enough service projects and so the Habitat for Humanity was added to our traditional Beach cleanup as our two major service activities. This was a tremendous success with almost everyone wanting more. In addition a new officer position, Service Chair, was created to allow our chapter to be more involved in these respects. Finally, our involvement in College of Engineering Web Page design continued. This had been a tremendous honor given to our chapter the previous semester (i.e. to design the College's home page) and needed to be taken seriously. Many years ago, TBP had been quite a force in the College and this role was being gradually re-established.
After going to the convention and seeing the grandiosity of TBP as an organization, my ideas for the chapter changed slightly. At the conference, our chapter won the Secretary's Commendation Award for the first time in a long time (you can look at the many awards CA Alpha USED to have and the hiatus in between). Also, I got to see some of the power-house chapters like those in Florida and elsewhere who had HUGE officer cores and participated in trillions of activities. So really, after this point the goal was to get TBP national exposure and make it grow into a power-house. There was impetus as well because of the need to continue the award we had received at nationals.
Some problems arose however that made the rapid-improvement plan not a possibility for the semester (i.e. not enough time and not enough active participation by officers and members to do grand activities). In spite of this, we still set up new activities like Engineering Futures sponsored by nationals, continued the successful Blood Drive of previous semester, and kept the Axe for CA Alpha by winning the Little Big Game at Stanfurd (the intense game ended in a tie allowing us to maintain possession of the axe). The final new project left to be done was to complete our roster of Four advisors stipulated by nationals. Dr. Sanjay Govindjee was chosen and ended up being our speaker at the banquet.
To allow for TBP growth into the future, my main idea and perhaps real contribution for that semester was to increase the officer group to greater than 20 individuals. Since officers ALWAYS tend to be the more active participants in TBP activities, the concept was that if the officer number was increased, more participation was expected and in turn more activities possible for the chapter. So a variety of new posts were established including Service Chair, Industial Liaison, College of Engineering Liaison, Computer/Technology Chair, etc.
Although these new posts were never fully established as regular TBP positions, seeing the consistently large number of officers semester after semester shows that the concept of big officer cores took hold and hopefully is here to stay.
I don't know what the future of CA Alpha chaper holds but with the great position it's in now, it is not too farfetched to say that the glory days of our chapter are back and a Most Improved Chapter award from nationals would certainly be appropriate.
Take Care, Babak Razani.
P.S. Be sure to put EVERY little activity you did this semester and next in the project report because that is the only way to get most improved or best chapter award. You've done a lot this semester and I think if you've turned in ALL the forms on time, we should have a crack at an award next year. Great job!! - FALL 1998
Important Contributions and New Traditions
- Engineering Blood Drive
- Hosted District 15 Meeting
- Broadened our horizon to the district level
- Habitat for Humanity
- Increase officer positions two-fold
- COE Webpage design
- Started TBP Webpage!
- Secretary's Commendation
- Pushed for a grander CA A chapter
- Prof. Govindjee as final Chapter Advisor
- Kept Little Axe in Little Big Game at Stanford