ASHRAE students posing for group photo at conference

Student Organizations

The architectural engineering department is home to numerous student organizations representing the four disciplines within architectural engineering — construction, lighting/electrical, mechanical, and structural — as well as student chapters representing various architectural engineering professional and honor societies.

Architectural Engineering Graduate Student Association (AE GSA)
The AE GSA works to develop an AE graduate student network with the objective of sharing work experiences. AE GSA promotes research and collaboration between graduate students and graduate alumni, both in academia and industry.

Alpha Rho Chi (APX)
Founded in 1914, APX is the nation’s only co-ed professional fraternity dedicated to architecture and the allied arts. APX got its name from the first three letters of the Greek word for architecture. In 1953, a group of students at Penn State formed the Vitruvius Architectural Society. The society was named after the Roman architect and engineer Marcus Vitruvius Polio, who is famous for his 10 books on architecture. In 1955, the society became a chapter of Alpha Rho Chi. The Vitruvius chapter is one of the most academically diverse, with members majoring in architecture, landscape architecture, architectural engineering, and art history.

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. The society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration, and sustainability within the industry. Through research, standards writing, publishing, and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today. Student Branches provide an opportunity for students interested in the HVAC&R industry to develop into engaged young professionals in the field. The Penn State University Park Student Branch was founded in 1983 and works to provide a diverse program of speakers, technical tours, projects, and networking opportunities for its members. Most members are undergraduate or graduate students in the Department of Architectural Engineering. Its sponsoring ASHRAE chapter is the Central Pennsylvania Chapter, which is located within ASHRAE Region III.

Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA)
The Design-Build Institute of America is the only organization that defines, teaches and promotes best practices in design-build. Design-build is an integrated approach that delivers design and construction services under one contract with a single point of responsibility. Owners select design-build to achieve best value while meeting schedule, cost, and quality goals.

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)
EERI is a national, nonprofit, technical society of engineers, geoscientists, architects, planners, public officials, and social scientists. EERI members include researchers, practicing professionals, educators, government officials, and building code regulators.

Engineers in Action
Engineers in Action builds suspended pedestrian footbridges over impassable rivers in rural, underserved communities to ensure year-round access to essential resources like education, healthcare, and markets. Student-led teams have been building bridges in Panama, Rwanda, and Bolivia each summer since 2014, spending a few weeks of their summer living and working with a community. Engineers in Action spend the year preparing for the trip by designing a bridge, fundraising, preparing to enter into a new culture, and coordinating with the community. Through the simple addition of a footbridge, more children enroll in school, more illnesses are treated, farmers increase their profits, and more women enter the labor market. Join us today to play a small part in ending poverty caused by rural isolation! Student contact: Sofia McGoff Medero,

Illuminating Engineering Society (IES)
IES seeks to improve the lighted environment by bringing together those with lighting knowledge and by translating that knowledge into actions that benefit the public. The IES will build upon a century of excellence to create the premier lighting community dedicated to promoting the art and science of quality lighting to its members, allied professional organizations, and the public.

Contact: Samantha Komber, president,

Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
MCAA serves the unique needs of approximately 2,500 firms involved in heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, plumbing, piping, and mechanical service. This is done by providing members with high-quality educational materials and programs to help them attain the highest level of managerial and technical expertise. MCAA includes the Mechanical Service Contractors of America, the Plumbing Contractors of America, the Manufacturer/Supplier Council, the Mechanical Contracting Education and Research Foundation and the National Certified Pipe Welding Bureau.

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
NAHB is a Washington DC-based trade association whose mission is to enhance the climate for housing and the building industry. Chief among NAHB’s goals is providing and expanding opportunities for all consumers to have safe, decent and affordable housing. As “the voice of America’s housing industry,” NAHB helps promote policies that will keep housing a national priority.

National Electrical Contracting Association (NECA)
NECA is the voice of the $130 billion industry responsible for bringing electrical power, lighting, and communications to buildings and communities across the United States. NECA is a dynamic national organization serving the management interests of the entire electrical contracting industry.

Structural Engineers Association of Pennsylvania (SEAoP)
The overall objective of SEAoP is the advancement of the practice of structural engineering in Pennsylvania and to provide a unified voice for structural engineers across the Commonwealth. Penn State established the first student chapter by joining SEAoP in 2011.

Student Society of Architectural Engineers (SSAE)
The mission of SSAE is to promote and disseminate knowledge regarding the profession of architectural engineering, encourage the interaction of students to share their education and experiences within the architectural engineering field, and provide a valuable communication means between students, faculty, and professionals in the field.

Contact: Alexis Sheeto, president, 

Student Society of the Partnership for Achieving Construction Excellence (S:PACE)
The S:PACE is the student arm of Penn State’s architectural engineering program for The Partnership for Achieving Construction Excellence (PACE). The officers for S:PACE are from the undergraduate AE program and work to bring student-enriching activities to the AE construction management program throughout the year.

Tau Beta Pi
Tau Beta Pi is an engineering honor society, highly regarded in the field. The national organization of Tau Beta Pi was founded in 1885 at Lehigh University, and has since grown to include over 200 collegiate chapters and nearly 60 alumni chapters. The Pennsylvania Beta chapter of Tau Beta Pi was founded at The Pennsylvania State University on May 4, 1912 as the twenty-sixth collegiate chapter.

Theme Park Engineering Group (TPEG)
Since being founded in 2010, we have been recognized as the premier collegiate theme park engineering group. Our goal is to provide our student members the opportunity to collaborate with experienced professionals of the themed entertainment industry and to partake in fun activities such as theme park trips, haunted houses, and escape rooms. We also initiate and complete professional design projects and discuss relevant topics with other students, faculty members, and industry professionals who share interests in the themed entertainment industry.

United Green Building Council (UGBC)
The Penn State Chapter of USBC brings together students that are interested in the green building industry. The chapter is well-known for its LEED Green Associate Exam Preparation event, where forward-thinking guests are invited to speak, and involvement in site visits that demonstrate sustainable practices. One of the most successful initiatives is the chapter’s continued participation at the annual Greenbuild Conference and Expo, where students are exposed to the latest sustainability practices and can attend educational sessions. UGBC also creates opportunities to network with leaders in the building industry whose firms excel in sustainable design. The chapter's goal is to increase environmental awareness among the Penn State student body and to help future engineers and architects make a sustainable future. Please contact Alex Gburek, 2019-20 president, at for more information. 



Globally recognized as a leading architectural engineering department, the mission of the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State is to advance the built environment through the development of world-class architectural engineers and research. The vision of the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State is to lead the world in innovative education and research to achieve high-performing built environments. Our program emphasizes the scientific and engineering aspects of planning, designing, and constructing buildings, providing our architectural engineering graduates with outstanding education and research opportunities. 

Department of Architectural Engineering

104 Engineering Unit A

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-6394