Science & Tech

ESS and SSA logo Image: Kai Holub/Fulcrum
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If you’ve noticed a charge from either the Science Students Association (SSA) or the Engineering Students Society (ESS) appear on your statement of account, consider it the mark of any STEM student here at uOttawa. If you’re like me and found yourself wondering who, what, where, and why; look no further. 

The Fulcrum sat down with representatives from both the SSA and ESS to learn more about their roles on campus, plans for the future, and 101-week. 

Science Students Association 

The SSA is a registered student government designed to represent over 4,000 science students at the University of Ottawa. In addition to the 33 members, there are 21 program-specific representatives that act to represent students from each program. 

team photo of SSA
Science Students Association team photo. Image: Réda Hamza/Provided

According to Réda Hamza, the current SSA president, “we do several things for students. The main one is that we organize several events for them, both social and academic. So among the social ones, we have 101-Week, the science formal, fundraisers, and some academic events like the wine and cheese or the textbook sale to name a few.”

In terms of 101-Week, the SSA sold upwards of 300 kits. 101ers from the faculty of science participated in a number of social events both on- and off-campus, such as an arcade night, bubble soccer, and parkour at Flying Squirrel. Inside their kits, students were given “items for laundry, beaker shots, condoms. We also [gave] out Shinerama and 101-Week shirts. It’s basically all the little items that they need in their first few weeks in university.”

Hamza added, “we also will try hopefully to send them a survival guide which has all the information they need to know more about Ottawa, the university, the services the university offers and ours as well, and also, several resources for your mental health [for] if you’re struggling or [information on] who to call for various types of emergencies.” 

The SSA is working closely with the faculty to create an open lab space for students, similar in principle to the Makerspace, where they can brush up on their lab techniques, practice for upcoming labs, or to simply experiment. 

According to Hamza, this would allow students the opportunity to “mess up as many times as [they] want.” The team is hoping to have the lab open during the winter semester. However, students can expect more information to follow in the coming months on the SSA instagram

When asked about goals for this year, Hamza said, “something that I’ve wanted to do is some sort of buddy program that would connect upper-year students with first-year students. An upper year could help them with any questions related to classes, the program, where to eat, where should I go party, how can I make more friends, etc.”

Engineering Students Society 

ESS team photo
Engineering Student Society team photo. Image: Liam Roche/Provided.

Similar to the SSA, the ESS is one of the main student bodies at the University of Ottawa. They represent approximately 5,000 undergraduate engineering students. Part of their mission is to steer the engineering culture in a direction that promotes a positive and collaborative environment. The ESS is also responsible for a number of events such as 101-Week, the engineering charity ball, and industry nights for students to connect with entrepreneurs and industry partners.

In an email to the Fulcrum, ESS president Julian Ward commented on their plans for 101-Week by assuring that students could expect the most positive, exciting, and engaging team across campus. 

When asked about the famous couch-carrying tradition, vice president of communications Liam Roche responded, “we are absolutely planning on carrying couches throughout the city of Ottawa and downtown. We’re looking forward to getting many residents to sit on our couch this year again. In previous years, we’ve had the mayor on our couch. This is a tradition that we don’t plan on stopping as well as taking our picture in front of parliament.”

“We included the iconic engineering mug which has our general chant written on it, their guide shirt, fanny packs, power banks and stress balls. If they purchased the messy day kit, which is one of our most well-regarded events. We’re giving them coveralls and hard hats,” continued Roche in an interview with the Fulcrum. 

According to Ward, the University of Ottawa Engineering Competition is an annual competition designed to challenge engineering students in the fields of innovation, design, and communication while solving real-world problems. Students have a choice to compete in a variety of eight exciting challenges in topics such as programming, design, and more. Afterwards, the winners will move on to represent Ottawa at the Ontario Engineering Competition and compete against schools from across the province.

In terms of goals for this year, Ward aims to increase their outreach.

“There are a lot of students who don’t know what services and events we offer, so I would love to connect with them and show that they can find a home with ESS. We strive to design equitable and accessible events and I’m looking forward to working with the rest of my executive team to put on amazing events for the rest of the year,” added Ward. 
For more information on the SSA visit their website here, for more information on the ESS visit their website here.


  • Emma Williams was the Fulcrum's science & tech editor for the 2021-22 publishing year. Emma is a passionate third-year environmental science student at the University of Ottawa. As a returning editor she hopes to continue sharing her love for science with the U of O community. When she isn’t studying, she can be found outdoors hiking in Gatineau Park, reading or biking with friends.