In 2020, AGC Student Chapters were faced with many challenges, including new living arrangements, virtual classrooms, campus shutdowns, and more. This also threw a wrench in the plans for campus clubs and related activities – namely in-person AGC Student Chapters meetings and virtual construction management classes. The challenges faced across the board made it nearly impossible to focus on growing or sustaining AGC student chapters in a 100% virtual format. Many chapters remained dormant waiting for the pandemic to pass, however, a few emerged stronger than ever thanks to strong student leadership and innovation.
The AGC Student Chapter at San Jose State University (SJSU) was reactivated in early 2021 thanks to a few highly motivated students and faculty. The SJSU student leaders worked hard to rebuild their chapter by offering a variety of student engagement opportunities, ultimately resulting in 120 new members in just three months! We spoke with Zhixiang (Jesse) Chen, SJSU Student Chapter President, to discuss the secret to their recruiting success and how AGC of California members can best support their local student chapter.
Why was it important to restart the AGC Student Chapter at SJSU?
“We believe natural leadership arises when people need help. So, we restarted our chapter during the pandemic because we want to send out a message: there is nothing we cannot achieve if we encourage each other and push each other forward. The darkest night makes the brightest star.”
“The AGC Chapter at SJSU wants to be a bridge for students who need support by connecting them to industry leaders eager to help. We also want SJSU to achieve recognition through our actions. We have grown from 0 to 120 members in three months, and we keep improving on how we serve our students because we know how much more students can achieve with exposure to additional opportunities and platforms.”
What was the most impactful event your chapter held in 2021?
“We held a virtual showcase with Turner Construction to learn more about their company, projects, and job/internship opportunities. We had 80 students attend the event, and it was an eye-opening experience for us – Turner really inspired our students. We also did a golf lesson group activity together. None of us were good at golf, but I asked 3 students to teach other students. These three students were inspired by the responsibility, and the golf lesson brought us closer.”
What’s next for your Chapter?
“One semester is not long enough to create a sustainable culture that will keep our Student Chapter alive, but we can do our best to construct one. Therefore, my focus has been shifted from building the chapter itself to building the culture. I’m focusing on how well we can do something together as having much greater value than how much we do. I believe good leaders are inspired to provide vision, security, acceptance, and inspiration to his/her people. With the responsibility of taking care of others, everyone becomes a great servant leader. My task for next semester is to do less myself and help other students to take full charge of their areas of responsibility for operating the Chapter.”
What can AGC member companies do to help support AGC Student Chapters?
“For SJSU, we want to find 2 companies to coach our commercial/mix-used team and Integrated Project teams for the 2022 ASC competition. We’d also like more internship and full-time hiring opportunities for our student members. Please email me at Zhixiang.email@example.com if your company can help us with either request!”
For more information on how you or your company can support or get in touch with AGC Student Chapters, contact Erin Volk at firstname.lastname@example.org.