by Gina DePasquale
I’m writing this article to share my experience in forming a new Institute of Transportation Engineers Student Chapter and the University of Hartford (UHart). The process of starting a new student chapter was a very supportive path, and I’m hoping that by reading this article fellow students will find themselves inspired to start a chapter at their universities.
I first had the opportunity to learn about the Institute of Transportation Engineers in 2017 during my first summer internship at Fuss & O’Neill in the transportation department located in Manchester, Connecticut. One of my tasks as an intern was to assist in the planning of the annual golf tournament, and I was also invited to attend CT ITE Networking events. These experiences shed light on how the chapter functions and the value of the activities the Chapter conducts. It wasn’t long before I began to wonder if UHart could benefit from the formation of its own ITE Student Chapter, and I realized that my exposure to the CT ITE Chapter had provided me with some of the knowledge required to begin that process.
Primarily, and most importantly, I needed to ensure the interest of this club extended beyond just me. I quickly learned that starting the right club will attract good people to join. Through coordination with the CT ITE board, I was able to invite fellow students to join some CT ITE events in the area. We quickly found ourselves with a dedicated executive board consisting of a social media chair (Kyle Billand), secretary (James Laurice), treasurer/vice president (Nash Bradley), and president (Gina DePasquale).
Through attending ITE events at both the Section and District levels, I had the opportunity to meet with the University of Massachusetts ITE Student Chapter executive board. They gave me a better understanding of the official documents needed, ideas for events, and general guidance for how to promote the start of a new club.
The next step was official recognition, first from UHart and then from the District. I would expect that school recognition varies by school, but at UHart it was relatively simple. I put in a request with our student government association and provided a list of at least 15 fellow students interested in starting the ITE UHart Student Chapter. The student government association also required a constitution and a faculty advisor. With recommendations from the UMass and UConn ITE student chapters, the intended executive board of the UHart ITE wrote our constitution, which later became our bylaws. When we approached UHart’s primary transportation faculty, Dr. Clara Fang, she fully supported the Chapter and has been an excellent advisor.
The final step in our journey was for the Northeastern District to review and charter the new Chapter. This included submitting bylaws and a written request for the formation of the Chapter. The acceptance of our Chapter came very quickly and with open arms. I received feedback from members of both the Section and District leadership, who were very excited for the new addition of the UHart student chapter and provided their full support. Since the formation of the Chapter, we have held Lunch and Learns with guest speakers ranging from senior leadership at CT DOT to emerging professionals in the consultant community. The NEITE Section was even willing to fund a joint event for the UHart ITE, UConn ITE, and CT ITE Chapters to host a trivia night and networking hour during our first semester as a Chapter.
Upon my graduation in December 2020, I intend to remain involved with the ITE UHart Student Chapter by becoming an industry advisor and maintaining an open line of communication to the chapter. I am also maintaining a Google Drive folder to share with the incoming executive board, to provide guidance and documentation of our events and submissions. For anyone considering starting a student chapter, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Our new Student Chapter has felt truly welcomed by the ITE family, and we look forward to planning future events and continuing to play an active role in the ITE community. Specifically, I’d like to thank Matt Skelly, Mark Vertucci, Ted DeSantos, Tom Errico, and Jeff Lebsack for their support and welcoming of the UHart Student Chapter. We look forward to hosting the NEITE/CTITE Annual Spring Meeting at UHart this coming April!
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