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Around this time last year, a bunch of talented students were demonstrating their projects in the PUB Main Dining Room for the TechEXPO 2017.

But what about this year?

While a lot of students were looking for information on TechEXPO 2018, the Associated Student Government (ASG) has decided not to hold the event this year.

TechEXPO was an exhibition held by Student Life for the past two years. It was meant to provide a platform for students to showcase their ideas as tangible projects.

They are not having TechEXPO this year because they are trying to do other events that all types of clubs and students can participate in, according to Aung Thiha Kyaw, the ASG technological affairs officer

“We are not canceling or suspending TechEXPO,” he said. “We just decided to do other events.”

Kyaw said that although the technological affairs officers from the last two years were very excited about the TechEXPO, “(we) found it is very intensive and requires a lot of coordination effort on our part, not just for ASG but also (for) the Arts and Entertainment Board,” he said.

Kyaw said the ASG believes that TechEXPO clearly attracts more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students, therefore they decided to put their efforts on planning other events such as the annual club awards and Sunfest, which could attract more student participants.

ASG also has a lot of projects on hand, making the unable to plan the TechEXPO ahead of time, according to Kyaw.

“If we are able to do (TechEXPO), we surely will,” he said.

One of the projects they are working on is the Amazing Race, an event where different clubs gather to play a series of games, organized in conjunction with the Club Carnival and Sunfest 2018.

The second runner-up of TechEXPO 2017 and president of Science Club, Zoe Chen, said she feels disappointed because the expo is the only opportunity for STEM students to exhibit their own projects.

“It is also the only platform for different STEM clubs in our school to exchange ideas,” she said.

Kyaw said the ASG will support STEM students financially and if there is any club that wants to do a tech project, they can go through the mini grant process.

“We are usually very generous with our mini grant process — it doesn’t even have to be a super-duper robotics project to get approved,” he said.

He also mentioned that the Engineering Club applied for a mini grant at the end of last quarter to compete in the 2018 MATE International ROV Competition. And this year, they are taking two teams despite typically taking only one.

Hsuan-Yu “Nicholas” Huang, the president of the Engineering Club, said the ASG didn’t notify them about this year’s expo until recently, so now their members are sad “because they thought they could show their ideas through the TechEXPO.”

In response to this, Kyaw reiterated that ASG typically does not send out emails to notify students of an event that is not happening, unless they planned to have the event and canceled it.

“If any clubs or students have any questions or comments regarding Tech EXPO or any other subject, I’d be happy to respond,” he said.

Kyaw can be reached at @@@[email protected]@@@

Huang also said even though the ASG approved their mini grant application for the competition, the school’s 3D printers stopped working and remained unfixed for two quarters, up until a week before one of their team competitions, causing the club to outsource to a printing company to print their project. The mini grant was not able to cover the cost, which forced them to pay for it with their own money.

Huang said he hopes Student Life will be able to host the TechEXPO next year, so that the Engineering Club members can show their creative ideas to visitors. He also added that he would like for the funding application process to be less complicated in order to make buying project supplies easier.

Kyaw didn’t deny the possibility of having TechEXPO in future years.

“If we want to do TechEXPO, the Student Life will try planning it to support students,” he said.

By Frances Hui,
Political Editor