AIAA at Syracuse University is Reaching New Heights

“How do we bring people from different majors together to create a collective community?” This question led the Syracuse chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) to explore new ways to forge relationships with the broader campus community. As the student organization welcomes new E-board members, they seek to strengthen bonds within the group’s membership and create a welcoming environment for all to join.  

“People in engineering typically meet other engineers – architects stay in Slocum Hall, engineers stay in Link Hall,” says vice president Theodore Todorov ’26. “We’re looking for ways to form new connections and bring people together.”  

Founded in 1963, the AIAA aims to shape the future of aerospace through ingenuity and innovation while supporting aerospace professionals to succeed in their careers. The Syracuse University chapter of AIAA contributes to this mission by hosting review sessions. These sessions cover primary engineering and higher-level aerospace courses, and club members can request specific topics to study. 

As a first-year student, Todorov loved being part of the club since he got to interact with other like-minded individuals. However, he noticed some aerospace engineering students he knew didn’t attend these meetings. Though the club was also open to non-engineering students, they also weren’t coming to meetings. When appointed as the club’s vice president, Todorov started thinking about ways to encourage more aerospace engineering and non-engineering students to join the club. 

“We wanted to branch out more,” he says. “We thought ‘How can we change that? How can we make our club more social?’”   

Breaking away from their usual meeting agenda, the club hosted an ice cream social to allow students to connect and relax. To their surprise, several students showed up, eager to mingle and fill their stomachs. This positive response prompted the e-Board to continue hosting more social events that allowed students to have fun. 

After the successful ice cream social, the AIAA has decided to host bigger social events in the future. They plan to organize the STEM Olympics, which will involve a campus-wide scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt would feature clues related to different programs such as biology, chemistry, and engineering. This event will also have prizes, and yard games and will take place before midterms so that students can unwind before their exams.  

“The idea is when people go to make their teams, they would select people from other majors or programs to have a better chance at solving clues,” says Todorov. “This is one of the best ways we can have students from different majors meet.”  

Todorov has been playing a leading role in organizing this event, in addition to assisting with review sessions and other duties related to the vice-president position. The e-Board has much more planned and is eagerly looking forward to students seeing what’s in store. They envision a bright future for the Syracuse chapter of the AIAA, not only as support for the future of aerospace engineering but also as a social club where people can connect. 

“I saw potential for the club when I joined my freshman year and I believed AIAA could be so much more,” Todorov says. “We want to make a big impact and are excited to see where it will go next.”

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