The UMass Amherst chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America received the national Emerging Student Chapter Award at the 2022 Annual AGC Convention in Grapevine, Texas. See UMass AGC chapter blog post and AGC press release: UMass Amherst Has One Of The Nation’s Most Outstanding Student Construction Chapters Of 2021, According To National Trade Association.
The award given to the UMass AGC Student Chapter was one of three national honors handed out to student chapters by the AGC of America. The three winning AGC chapters received $2,000 each, as well as an additional $1,000 travel stipend to attend AGC’s Annual Convention.
The UMass AGC chapter is a student-run club involved in the construction industry, both on campus and in the community. The chapter president is Civil Engineering (CEE) major Nate Wright and the vice-president is Building and Construction Technology (BCT) major Eric Lee. The other chapter officers are Kitty Lovell (secretary), Varuna Desai (treasurer), Tom Toscano (club representative), and Sam Esquivel (outreach). The faculty advisors are CEE Professor Scott Civjan and BCT Professor Fernando Romero.
According to the AGC of America press release, the UMass chapter was forced by the pandemic in the spring of 2020 to go fully remote and subsequently lost its entire executive board to graduation at the end of that school year.
As the press release explained, “The remaining members of the chapter worked to schedule online events and had to figure out how to recruit new members in the remote environment. The chapter overcame significant obstacles to maintain its momentum and continue serving as a resource for students studying construction to connect with the industry.”
As one result of this extraordinary effort by the AGC members and their new officers, the UMass AGC chapter has regrouped in order to provide continuing extracurricular resources for construction students by offering chapter meetings, construction site tours, guest lectures, OSHA-10 Construction training, volunteering opportunities, and club bonding events.
As the UMass chapter’s website explains, “We are a diverse community of students interested in construction, civil engineering, project management, and sustainability. We provide a wide range of events that are focused on learning and professional development.”
The AGC website added this invitation to students taking construction-related coursework: “Join us as we explore the construction and engineering industries, advance our knowledge and skill sets, and meet other students and professionals with similar interests!”
The AGC of America calls itself “the voice of the construction industry.” The three winning chapters were selected by a panel of judges made up of practicing commercial contractors. Student chapters were evaluated on qualifying criteria in each of the three award categories for exemplary demonstration of the AGC of America tenants of skill, responsibility, and integrity. (May 2022)