Student organizations and competition teams
Immerse yourself as a future Berkeley Engineer through the Society of Women Engineers’ New Admit Virtual Overnight Host Program (vOHP). During this week-long program, you’ll bond with prospective and current students at socials and through a penpals program, explore the vast opportunities in engineering and get honest perspectives to all your Berkeley Engineering questions. Check out these links for more information and to register for SWE’s vOHP 2021! Contact SWE if you have any questions.
Much of what makes Berkeley Engineering unique is the abundance of ways our students can learn and grow. Our student organizations and competition teams offer unique opportunities to integrate materials learned in the classroom with a chance to develop character and leadership skills.
Each year on Cal Day, engineering student organizations and competition teams turn out in force, sharing the projects they ran throughout the year, vehicles they’ve built, or some other hands-on experience — all so you can learn more about them and the students who make it all possible. Since we’re unable to provide that in-person experience this year, our students have shared videos, photos and stories of what makes their organization or team such an important part of the their time as Berkeley engineers.
Check out some of the teams and organizations that have created Cal Week content for you below. Then you can find the complete list of engineering student organizations and competition teams online.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers is a professional engineering organization dedicated to the professional development of engineering students on the Berkeley campus.
They help students network with corporations, startups, other professional societies and their fellow engineers. In addition to their numerous professional events, they also sponsor a number of social events throughout the semester to foster a tightly-knit, positive engineering community.
Bioengineering Honor Society (BioEHS) honors undergraduate students from the Department of Bioengineering who have maintained excellent scholarship during their time at UC Berkeley. In addition to holding high academic standards, BioEHS emphasizes striving for exceptional character. All prospective and current members participate in volunteer, professional and social events that benefit themselves and the community. Learn more about them online and view their photo gallery to see their events/projects in action.
BioEHS members teach a DeCal in the fall semester: Breaking Down Bioengineering (BioE 98/198): This DeCal bridges the BioE concentrations & courses on campus with the unique specialties of BioE including Biomimetics, Computational Neuroengineering, and Orthopedic Bioengineering. If you would like to know more about the intersections of BioE with MSE, EECS, and MCB through faculty & industry speakers, or gain insight into BioE electives through panels with BioEHS alumni & upperclassmen, apply to BioE 98/198! They have crafted this course to help you navigate whatever problems in BioE you want to solve, and find the resources on campus to solve them. This 2-unit course is open to students from all majors, and offers you exclusive access to BioEHS!
The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) is the largest bioengineering club on campus. Their mission is to bring their passion for bioengineering and biotechnology to the larger campus community, connect students to different opportunities, and help students learn more about bioengineering as a field of study. They work closely with the bioengineering department to produce events catered to bioengineering students.
Some key events that are hosted by BMES are: networking diners, professional development workshops, design workshops, professor luncheons (co-hosted with BioEHS), graduate student panels, a research exhibition, and course advice workshops. BMES also has a strong tradition of community outreach – members have had opportunities to participate in STEM outreach to the broader East Bay community as well as develop ties to Cal BioE alumni.
Download their flyer to learn more about them or if you want to get connected with them, fill out this form. Prospective students can also reach out to people from the BMES community to ask questions about BioE at Cal and check out their FAQs.
Blueprint is a team of Cal students working together to develop software (for free!) for nonprofits and promote technology for social good. On top of helping their members develop skills as software engineers and product designers, they also host external events, such as hackathons to bring the campus community together in solving interesting problems, and field trips to organizations in the Bay Area. Learn more about Blueprint online:
BicyCal is a volunteer-run student group focused on helping students and UC Berkeley community members learn how to fix and maintain their bikes for free. All are welcome to participate, and no prior skills are required — volunteers can learn everything on the job. BicyCal also hosts regular group bike rides and pizza nights to foster a fun and supportive community. The shop is located on Lower Sproul under the Golden Bear Cafe. Follow us on Facebook for updates, and feel free to drop in during any of the open hours to get started.
Cal Seismic Design is a welcoming competition team/club/Decal course focused on structural design and earthquake engineering. Each year, the team competes in the international Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Student Design Competition, presenting a seismically safe, 5-foot tall balsa wood tower that must survive two intense earthquake simulations. This team works the whole year to come up with the most efficient and elegant design while having lots of fun. Check out our slides, and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to learn more! Go Bears!
CalSMV races in the Shell Eco Marathon, which competes across four continents around the globe to spread awareness of alternative fuels and to foster the ingenuity of tomorrow’s engineers.
Since the beginning of CalSMV in 1991, the team has focused its ambitions towards small, single-passenger prototype vehicles designed to prioritize fuel efficiency before all else. As the world and technology have changed, so has the CalSMV team.
Watch their slide show featuring their most recent vehicle, Lux, from concept to race.
CalSol, the UC Berkeley Solar Vehicle team, is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to design, build, test and race fully solar-powered vehicles. We have built a multitude of solar cars in the past, racing them at competitions such as the World Solar Challenge, American Solar Challenge and Formula Sun Grand Prix. Composed of more than fifty undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines, CalSol provides students with hands-on experience with real-world engineering, project management and business aptitude.
Watch more about the CalSol team and process:
Concrete Canoe provides a welcoming community where students can learn, gain hands-on experience and create something they can be proud of. The concrete canoe team encompasses many disciplines of civil engineering, and provides a unique opportunity for students to grow.
Students are able to participate in various modules, working from conception to fabrication of our concrete canoe. Participating in the team exposes students to many topics covered in civil engineering, such as construction, material science, structural analysis and environmental sustainability. In addition, as a competition team, Concrete Canoe helps individuals build leadership and teamwork skills. Their team also has a long history of competition and success, which allows students to call upon a large network of knowledgeable alumni. Concrete Canoe at UC Berkeley provides a great opportunity for students to grow outside of their courses.
Follow the team:
CS Kickstart is a free week-long program for incoming freshman girls who are interested in computer science before the semester starts. Our program gives participants the opportunities to live in dorms; tour tech companies; learn Python, web development, and graphic design; and create memories that last a lifetime — all to kickstart their college career. We provide an amazingly impactful introduction to college, as it highlights the opportunities and resources Cal has to offer, as well as provides an inspiring community of women in a male-dominated field. Our ultimate goal is to give girls the opportunity to pursue computer science regardless of the barriers female students typically face, during and after the program. Join their mailing list to learn more. Learn more about CS Kickstart:
EnableTech designs and builds assistive technology to address challenges faced by individuals who have disabilities. They provide teams with the resources to turn ideas into solutions that could improve the lives of many people. They also run a DeCal that teaches design skills through the perspective of human-centered design. Learn more about EnableTech:
Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) Berkeley chapter manages ~10 local community and campus projects focusing on sustainability, resilience and education. Their mission statement is to “Design, Educate, Build, and we are part of a larger network of ESW chapters, over 1,000 members all around the world, but mostly in the U.S.” Their members are from all backgrounds, not just engineering. They fund many projects through the Green Initiative Fund and the Chancellor’s Grant, and welcome anyone passionate about sustainability, learning by doing, community resilience and environmental justice. Learn more about them and their projects:
Welcome new Golden Bear engineers! As the Engineering Student Council (ESC) we are dedicated to serving you and supporting your journey as a Berkeley engineer. We hope that in the coming years, you can look to us for guidance, empowerment and inspiration. Berkeley Engineering is filled with passionate students, wonderful faculty and exciting opportunities — an adventure awaits you, and we can’t wait to meet you all.
Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB-USA) is a nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to developing and implementing long-term sustainable engineering solutions in communities that lack access to basic needs. We bring together talented students – both engineers and non-engineers – to work towards a common goal of philanthropic engineering abroad. We strive for sustainability in all of its forms: ensuring our projects utilize materials from the community, and guaranteeing that the necessary infrastructure and community acceptance is present to sustain the project after its implementation. The EWB Berkeley model emphasizes working with the community – the project belongs to the community members and it is essential we work together throughout the process. Our chapter has ongoing water and sanitation projects in Nicaragua and Panama. We are hoping to adopt two new projects in the upcoming year including one local project to address engineering needs in the Bay Area.
Hispanic Engineers and Scientists (HES) is a student organization that was established in 1974 to create a community among all Latinx engineering and science students at UC Berkeley. They are a collegiate chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, whose educational programs and events directly serve tens of thousands each year representing a diverse Hispanic community.
There are many ways that HES engages in activities that not only help their undergraduate members, but also help the youth of the local community. The unwavering dedication of their student members has made their numerous outreach programs a success.
Their organization influences more and more students every year and has had a great impact on the Berkeley student body. HES has quadrupled in members over the course of two years and they re-established their chapter’s presence at the 2014 SHPE National Conference with over half of their conference attendees placing in rigorous academic competitions.
Learn more about the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) is a friendly environment that is collaborative and cooperative. We are open to all Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) and Operations Research and Management Science (ORMS in the College of Letters and Sciences) majors. We work alongside the Berkeley IEOR department in order to bring as many resources as we can to our tight-knit major.
But what do we do specifically? We work in three areas: professional development, academic guidance and community building.
- For professional development, we work closely with our department, hosting multiple faculty lunches and company info sessions, and we are looking to host our first ever IEOR/ORMS career fair this fall.
- For academic guidance, we host meetings to help members create a four-year plan with advising from junior and senior IEOR majors. Additionally, many study groups are formed through this club, and we have a mentor/mentee pairing to help younger IEOR students navigate their way through college.
- And finally, for community building, we host many events with professors and faculty such as our Halloween Party, End of the Year Banquet, and volunteer opportunities alongside the department. Amongst students as well we have food buddies, club retreat, and “very important meetings” where we hang out, whether that means going on a hike, going to SF together, or karaoking.
Phi Sigma Rho is a social sorority for women in engineering and science. (In order for a major to qualify as STEM it must require calculus, physics-based calculus and one other technical science, and this excludes math, cognitive science and data science due to national requirements.) We have ~50 members currently, and our chapter was founded in April 2015. Key values are friendship, scholarship and encouragement. These involve personal integrity and character, academic and professional support, social balance, involvement and responsibility, and lifetime sisterhood. Learn more about Phi Sigma Rho’s programs and meet the members in their presentation.
The Pilipinx Association of Scientists, Architects, and Engineers (PASAE) is a professional organization aimed towards Pilipinx* students in STEAM. Primarily, we provide our members a community and space in which they can feel comfortable professionally and academically developing themselves.
Our programming includes workshops on crafting the perfect resume, panels on navigating undergraduate research, networking events with our alumni, and even an annual tech conference we host on campus inviting Filipino American professionals from around the Bay Area.
Beyond our external events, we also facilitate a social and cultural space. We hold social events to de-stress, such as PASAE’ce-skating, PA’Smash Tournament, and Glade & Chill. Additionally, we are connected to the greater Pil Community on campus and collaborate with them on various occasions.
*gender-inclusive term referring to those with Philippine ancestry (i.e. Filipino, Pinay, etc.)
SENDforC (Support, Encourage, and Develop for Children, Inc.) at UC Berkeley is a STEM mentorship organization centered around outreach, service and research. We pair college undergraduates with high school mentees, aiming to provide access to science through our Computer Science and Discovery Labs curriculum Tracks. Additionally, we host a Research Track to empower high school students to develop their own socially engaged STEM research projects. Mentors are concerned with mentees holistic success and part of our program is to connect high school students with college application support, summer opportunities, and exposure to campus research. We view STEM as a vehicle of social equity work, and so hold mentorship and workshops in underserved Bay Area high schools.
A fully student-run team, Space Enterprise at Berkeley (SEB) was founded in 2016 with the goal of developing rocket technologies and achieving spaceflight. Since then, they have extensively developed their Low Altitude Demonstrator program, which has enabled them to flight-test critical infrastructure and fine-tune their in-house design and manufacturing process. SEB currently holds the UC Berkeley record for speed and altitude, set by the launch of their LAD-4 vehicle.
In August 2019, SEB debuted their EUREKA program with the goal of becoming the first college team in history to reach space with a liquid-fueled rocket – to inspire other rocketry teams, engineers, and creative minds to innovate the impossible.
Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is a national nonprofit organization which strives to highlight the achievements of women as leaders and engineers. Our mission is to empower women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering and technology professions as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion.