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"SPD Was the Right Place for Me"

Why did you join Sigma Phi Delta as an undergraduate?

When I started university, my parents sat me down to "warn" me of what university will be like. The message that came at the end of this conversation was, "most of all, university is a time for you to openly experience as many things as possible, and explore yourself in ways that you won't be able to at any other time in your life. So, if there's anything that you want to do, don't hesitate." The other message I received was from my older brother who said, "University can be a fun time, but don't join a frat." As a result, I steered clear of fraternities for my first couple of years at UBC. I started making friends in classes and hanging around The Cheeze (the Engineering student club house at UBC), and slowly realized that everyone that I was hanging out with and who were involved in the student politics that I was starting to get involved with were members of SPD. The next year, I decided to check out some of their rush events, got to know some of the brothers I hadn't met yet, and realized that it was the right place for me.

What is your best memory from your SPD days?

This is a tough one, as there's so many to choose from. I think my best memory was from a road trip that I took with four brothers and one member of A.O.E. all the way from Theta chapter in Vancouver, BC down to Phi Chapter in Brookings, SD. It was a 30-hour nonstop drive, but meeting all the guys (and A.O.E. girls) from another chapter (including a few brothers who drove up from Texas to meet us!), and hanging out for the weekend, was an awesome experience. I've been back to Phi Chapter two or three times since then, on other road trips, and attended a Phi brother’s wedding last year.

Why would you recommend that students today join SPD?

It's hard to find a reason not to. When I was the rush chair for our chapter, I would often ask students "what do you want to get out of your time at UBC." My favourite answer to this was "a degree, I guess," because it meant that I got to be the one to open their eyes to all of the possibilities of what their undergraduate experience could be. As an undergraduate member of SPD, you not only get more experience that will be useful to you in your career than you will from any of your courses (no kidding, anyone can look up how to do quantum physics on Wikipedia these days), but you will form friendships and bonds that will span borders and last a lifetime.

How do you stay involved with the fraternity as an alum?

Initially as an alum, I became the Western Province Councillor for the Fraternity. I stepped down from the role after taking a new job that requires me to travel too much to do the role properly. Now, I drop by the house every now and again to see what the brothers are up to, and, when requested, I drop in during the exam periods to give a bit of free tutoring.

What about your membership in SPD makes you the most proud?

What makes me most proud about my membership in SPD is how much all of the brothers (active and alumni) are openly willing to give back to the community. As an alum I try to help out any brothers who ask for it, and I see brothers from every chapter giving back through their philanthropy events.

How would your life be different today if you had never joined SPD?

I think that if I hadn't have joined SPD, my life today would be a lot more chaotic. By getting involved in the fraternity, I indirectly learned a ton of organizational skills and got involved with a lot of programs which helped build these skills. Along with that, I wouldn't have the network of peers who help keep me grounded that I have today.

Why have you financially supported the General Fund of the Fraternity?

I have financially supported the General Fund of the Fraternity to help with the expansion efforts in recent years, and to help the fraternity build new services and support structures for the brothers. Whenever I receive a donation request from my university, I end up deciding to give back to the Fraternity instead as it reminds me of where I really got my applicable experience during my university years.

Why would you encourage other alumni to support SPD?

Even the smallest donation can have a big impact to how much the Fraternity can do for all of our brothers. If every alum out there gave just a few bucks, the fraternity would have a huge amount of money to work with. So empty your pocket, count the change, and donate at least that much.

How did your membership in Sigma Phi Delta benefit your career?

There are two major ways in which my membership in SPD has benefited my career. The first is by keeping me from becoming a stereotypical socially awkward engineer. Whether I'm meeting with customers, interviewing with potential employers, or meeting with coaches, I often get feedback that they are surprised at how normal I seem given that I'm an engineer. I blame SPD for keeping me grounded and building up my interpersonal skills. The second way it has benefited my career is by giving me a network of engineers who I know will work hard to achieve their goals, but who also understand that life is about more than learning all the things and working hard. These are the types of engineers I want to surround myself with, and who I can turn to when we're looking to hire.

Where has life taken you since graduation?

Since graduation, I've worked as an engineer for two different companies. The first role was in sensor signal analysis and data reporting for a blade vibration monitoring company in Oregon, and my current role is focused on system training and implementations for a CAD/CAM suite for the prosthetics and orthotics industry. Over the past three years in this role, I have found myself working in hospitals and clinics in over 20 different countries.

What's new in your life today?

There isn't a lot new in my life these days, aside from the copious amounts of travel that I've been doing for work. If anyone's living abroad at the moment, give me a shout and I'll let you know if I'm in your neck of the woods.

Connect with Bob at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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