group of people under tent eating at tables

Annual Welcome Party and Open House

Each fall, FSEL hosts a Welcome Party and Open House for students, faculty, staff, sponsors, alumni, and friends of the lab. Lawn games are put out, posters describing the projects are put up in the lab, and local food trucks cater the event, creating a fun and casual environment for attendees.

group playing football

Football Challenge

Another fall ritual is the flag football game between the returning and incoming graduate students. The first game was held in 1984, and the returning students remain undefeated.

Football Pictures

4 people posing with golf clubs

J. Neils Thompson Golf Tournament

The J. Neils Thompson Golf Tournament has been held each spring since 1994. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and sponsors are all invited to participate. Teams of four compete using a scramble format so both beginners and advanced players are encouraged to play.

group posing in field

Annual Picnic and Softball Game

Near the end of the spring semester, the students, faculty, and staff meet at an area park for a softball game and picnic. The picnic is a great place to relax before final exams and gives everyone an opportunity to socialize outside of the workplace.

many colorful pendents on a wall

Recruitment Weekend

Each spring, the faculty in Structural Engineering invite top graduate program applicants to Austin. During the weekend, the visiting students learn about the graduate program, meet the faculty, tour the facilities at FSEL, and explore Austin.

group of people posing for picture

Conventions and Alumni Receptions

Throughout the year, FSEL faculty, graduate students and alumni attend conventions and conferences to present current research work and exchange information with professionals concerning the status of scientific and technical developments in the structural engineering discipline.

group of people posing for picture

STEER Reunion

Graduate students organized the first STEER in 1985 as a forum to discuss contemporary issues with practicing engineers. The event was enormously successful, and subsequent reunions have been held to commemorate significant events in the structural engineering department.

small group smiling and giving hook 'em horns hands


Graduate students gather at the corner of Dean Keeton and San Jacinto across from the ECJ Building for tailgate celebrations before most home football games. The events are informal.

group under tent at barbeque

Impromptu Events

One never really knows when the next time the grill will be pulled out or a potluck will happen. The Ferguson Laboratory strives to have a collaborative environment among faculty, staff, and students and the best way to make that happen is through good food and camaraderie.