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Students and Faculty Get Pied for Pi Day

By: Bel Huston | March 15, 2024

Associate professor Jeff Kauffman is standing on the lawn behind Engineering II in 80-degree weather, wearing safety goggles and a plastic poncho over a dress shirt and slacks. Grinning before him are a handful of his students, holding their makeshift Pi Day pies – paper plates topped with a mountain of shaving cream. They’ve paid for the opportunity to pie their professor in face.

“This won’t affect my grade on the midterm, right?” one of them asks.

“Not at all. Already graded,” Kauffman assures him.

student stand with their professor who is covered in shaving cream

Kauffman and other professors were willing victims of Pie for a Cause, a fundraiser and charity event organized by engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi. Students paid to pie volunteer faculty members to raise funds for the chapter, and for the opportunity to nominate a charity that will receive a portion of the proceeds. Tau Beta Pi raised $130 from the event, which will be shared with the most nominated organization, UCF’s chapter of the Society of Women in Space.

“We’re a growing organization and this is a great way to relax and unwind, and we’re developing that social aspect for our members,” says Janice Zou, Tau Beta Pi president.

In a serendipitous Pi Day coincidence, the UCF chapter of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) also set up shop outside Engineering II, fundraising for their organization as well. Students donated for the opportunity to serve up shaving cream pies to chapter officers.

“A lot of times a lot of engineering clubs are all about the workshop and while we do have that, and the mentorship aspect with professionals in industrial engineering we wanted to get some camaraderie in the club,” says IISE president Isabel Vega.

students, faculty and staff at Pi Day event

Vega also adds that IISE membership is open to all students, not only industrial engineering majors, and that they offer activities such social events, facility tours and the opportunity to meet with industry professionals.

“We want people to have a network when they leave college, not just when they’re in college,” she says.

Kurt Stresau, another faculty member who volunteered for the event, was only happy to participate in the Pi Day fun.

“We take things too seriously,” he says. “We get so focused on the fact that everybody’s doing all of these high-tech things that we forget that we’re members of a community.”

student pies another student