If a collaboration between diverse majors — commerce, computer science, COGS, arts, science — makes you think of the flame emoji, don’t think “mixtape.” You'll find fuel to light that fire with UBC BizTech instead.
UBC BizTech is a club hoping to integrate students from a variety of majors using the banner of technology, social awareness and entrepreneurship. Starting in 2004, the club primarily consisted of students who combined computer science and business or similar majors.
Since the club’s rebranding two years ago, it has reached out to students outside of its previously niche audience. Its student body grew from 30 to over 400 members, and it has now become one of the largest business and technology clubs on campus.
With this growth, the club saw a swathe of external partners ranging from Lighthouse Labs to Soylent. However, the growth did not sway the vision of current president Crystal Song. A third-year student combining computer science and business, she joined two years ago when the club was in the midst of its re-branding.
She hopes to have more diversity in the club, looking to bring an element of social awareness alongside its core foundation. Recently, BizTech adopted the mantra of “integration.”
“How business, technology and society play together as a whole are key components to the integration aspect of our motto. We’re manifesting that in trying to get various different partners to come, rather than just strictly business partners who are doing only business and tech,” said Song.
This initiative for integration also includes bi-weekly lunchtime talks designed to build dialogue between students and professors on universally applicable topics such as ethics. This is in contrast to previous events like last year’s Tech Network event that saw large numbers of student attendees, but not as much success in creating meaningful networks between those students.
“These are topics that BizTech has never explored previously because they’re a little different than the normal ‘business and technology’ topic,” said Song. “So this is our opportunity to bring topics that are relevant to everyone, field their questions, gain their insight and create this community of conversations rather than purely throwing people together and hoping that will manifest.”
BizTech’s upcoming Blueprint event on November 18 seeks to bring relevance to more diverse attendees by having specialized workshops hosted by a variety of their partners. The goal is to help students to enhance their own “blueprint” and take away something meaningful rather that simply attending boring lectures.
“[The idea of the conference] is to have students ‘build their blueprint to success’ to succeed in this world of technology and business. And it’s a very relevant topic because things like technology are constantly changing every day, and there is always something new coming out,” said Song.
“You are constantly needing to improve, build and upgrade your blueprint, and that’s a topic key for students, not only to their lives but for their careers as well.”