Honorary Fraternity Boosts Student Opportunities

Focusing on academic excellence, Beta Tau offers members networking, community service, and social opportunities, as well as access to top employers

A 3.0 or better GPA will earn construction engineering and management students an invitation to Beta Tau, an honorary fraternity that helps members stay on track academically and gives them an edge when it's time to job hunt.

This year, 17 members are participating—doing community service, socializing, and planning an annual banquet that puts them face-to-face with industry leaders.

"We also work to further develop the major and get more students interested in becoming construction engineers," says Logan Cook, a junior and president of Beta Tau.

For CEM senior Brian Beckman, a third-year Beta Tau member, the organization provides important contacts he believes will last a lifetime. "Beta Tau helps me get to know the older and younger classes, which is a great networking opportunity, especially since CEM students accept jobs all over the country, and maybe overseas, too," Beckman says.

Cook says Beta Tau encourages community through cookouts and service projects, as well as its regular monthly meetings. "One of the highlights of our year is the big banquet in the spring," he says. "We always have a guest speaker on things going on in the industry. The last two years' speakers talked about sustainable, green buildings."

"Invitations go out to all of our sponsor companies, faculty, staff, students, and advisory board members, along with heads of the engineering schools," says Julio Martinez, academic advisor and associate professor of civil engineering. "The organization is valuable because it is well known within the industry and it gives students leadership skills and activities."

This academic year, Beta Tau members painted parking lot stripes for Habitat for Humanity. They'll return in the spring to install a handicap-accessibility ramp.

Beta Tau was launched in 1981 by Purdue graduate and former Purdue professor Donn Hancher (BSCE '66, MSCE '68, PhD '72), now the Terrell- McDowell Chair Professor of Construction Engineering and Management at the University of Kentucky. "We set up Beta Tau to recognize students for academic achievement," Hancher says.

When he retires and moves back to West Lafayette next year, Hancher says, "I would very much like to rekindle my relationship."

-K.M.