Credit: NSBE | Courtesy

Cal Poly’s National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) won the regional Chapter of the Year for the second year in a row.

NSBE on campus is located in Region VI, which encompasses all chapters in the 13 western states. Cal Poly’s NSBE was named the best medium-sized chapter on the west coast.

NSBE has been active every year on campus since 1978, according to the club’s treasurer Amman Asfaw, an electrical engineering senior. NSBE is the longest-running black organization at Cal Poly.

“I really want this to be highlighted as a bright spot for our community at Cal Poly,” Asfaw said.

This is the third overall win of the regional chapter of the year. Cal Poly won in 1986, 2019 and 2020.

Chapters win awards by best fulfilling NSBE’s mission statement, which is, “to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community,” according to its website.

Chapter president and environmental engineering senior Ashley Green said the chapter’s leadership over the past four years has made the chapter significantly better. There are around 50 active members and the club documents all events and activities they put on.

“By putting everything on social media, we’re advertising what we’re doing, and then people get excited and want to join in,” Green said. “The coolest thing is that other, smaller chapters have reached out to ask about how we got to where we are.” 

Attending different NSBE conferences also contribute to winning Chapter of the Year awards, according to Asfaw. Cal Poly sent more than 20 members to the regional conference in the fall, an opportunity to network with other black professionals.

Due to COVID-19, the national conference was postponed until August and was not included in the evaluations of chapters, according to Asfaw. However, the club has already fundraised more than $7,000 to attend the national convention, which is still being held in August. 

Putting on different events during the school year helped NSBE win the best regional chapter, as the more events a chapter hosts the higher they are ranked. They visited middle schools twice to teach pre-collegiate activities to the students. 

NSBE works with different organizations on campus to host events, including clothing sales as well as mentor and mentee bonding events. Computer engineering freshman Storm Randolph is the club’s freshman senator and worked to maintain relationships with other professional organizations on campus to grow NSBE’s presence, such as hosting events with these organizations. 

Randolph documented all social and academic events and submitted detailed activity reports. These reports were confirmation that NSBE worked to achieve the mission statement over the year, she said.

“I didn’t think that the small things could add up to something so big,” Randolph said. “It made me realize how important my role was in helping NSBE itself.”

Winning best chapter grants the organization a plaque and recognition. The chapter was also awarded four discounted tickets to next year’s regional conference.

“Winning made us realize that the sky’s the limit,” Asfaw said. “Just because we won, doesn’t mean we are going to stop.”

Green said that even during the pandemic, the club remains active. This includes bi-weekly Zoom meetings, virtual game nights and Instagram Live competitions. 

“These are confusing times, but the chapter hasn’t stopped doing cool stuff,” Green said. “We’re really trying to uphold values and this quarter we are still super dedicated and inclusive.”

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