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Engineering serves up Gumbo Fest

October 6, 2016

Kacie Kaufman

Staff Reporter | kjk019@latech.edu

The College of Engineering and Sciences held their annual Gumbo Fest on Sept. 28 in the Argent Pavilion. Photo by Brian Blakely

The College of Engineering and Sciences held their annual Gumbo Fest on Sept. 28 in the Argent Pavilion. Photo by Brian Blakely

 

A 1960 Volkswagen truck used as an ice chest and a crowd of people in the same T-shirt at Argent Pavilion could only mean one thing: it was time for the annual Gumbo Fest event.

 

On Sept. 28, the College of Engineering and Science hosted Gumbo Fest for students, professors, and their families. A T-shirt, purchased prior to or at the event, served as a ticket for the meal and festivities.

 

Michael Swanbom, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering, said the event was steeped in traditions.

 

“I bring the 1960 Volkswagen truck to be the ice chest,” he said. “The first time I did that was in 2009. Before that, there was another professor that had an old Ford and they would always use it as an ice chest.”

 

Swanbom said a new twist was present alongside some of the traditions. He said Gumbo Fest used to be a time for students to explore organizations within the college, but this year, various company representatives were present instead.

 

Kelly Kneale, a junior biomedical engineering major, said companies from career day came to Gumbo Fest.

 

“They had ExxonMobil here tonight and a bunch of other people,” she said. “I feel like that brought a lot of students here because it’s companies that we want to hear about.”

 

Kneale said the event offered career and networking opportunities alongside opportunities to spend time with people from the entire department.

 

“We are small enough for the whole College of Engineering and Science to get together under one pavilion and have a meal together,” she said.

“You’re not just a number here.”

 

Rachel Hegab, a sophomore biomedical engineering major, said the event was put on as a way to get the whole COES together.

 

“I mean, yes, we’re all in the same classes together, but it’s a way for students to enjoy a social event outside of the classroom — also with their professors,” she said.

 

Hegab said the event provided both freshmen and upperclassmen with a place to meet and interact, not just pass each other in the hallways outside of class.

 

“This isn’t just about getting the degree, but it is making connections and having that experience,” she said.

 

Hegab said she got a glimpse of the preparation involved in the organization of the event.

 

“We all pitched in,” she said. “I really like how I got to see all the behind-the-scenes stuff and all the work that goes into putting on events like this for students.”

 

Swanbom said Gumbo Fest was a night where students and faculty alike could unwind with their families.

 

“It’s nice to get to more of the personal lives of some of the people who come,” Swanbom said. “Everyone should go every year.”

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