The national engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi, was founded at Lehigh University in 1885 by Dr. Edward Higginson Williams Jr. to honor exemplary character as undergraduates in engineering and high achievement in the field of engineering. The Iowa Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Pi was founded on December 20, 1907 and has since initiated more than 6,000 members.


This organization has no affiliations.

Constitution / Tier

File 1365993981.pdf
Tier Student Organization - Affiliated

Membership Information

Student Members 32
ISU Members 24
Non-ISU Members 1
Allowed Members By Invitation
Allowed Officers Members
Membership Qualifications Top 12.5% of the Junior Class and the top 20% of the Senior class will be eligible to join TBP. All engineering disciplines are welcome.
Membership Restrictions None
Elections/Selection Once per semester
Meetings Weekly meetings, learn more on our website

Description of Regular Meetings/Activities

Committee and General meetings alternate on Wednesday nights from 6-7 PM in Howe 1304. At these meetings members of the club hear from faculty researchers and about upcoming events in the club.

Description of Special Events

Roller Coaster Event for Middle and High School Students The Tau Beta Pi Rollercoaster competition is an outreach event where middle school and high school students design a rollercoaster in the style of a Rube Goldberg machine to carry a small metal ball over a track of the students’ design. The objective of the event is to allow students to express their creativity while introducing them to basic physics concepts.
Building the Future Event for Middle School Students Building the Future is an outreach project that brings middle school students from Iowa schools to the ISU campus to experience hands-on-engineering. The activities are all based around the scenario of a tornado hitting a small Iowa town and what engineers can do to help. The students had 4 different activities during the day: visiting the Iowa State University Model Tornado Simulator to see how a tornado forms and its destructive force, building a bridge to replace one that had been destroyed in the tornado and allowed an ambulance to cross the river (popsicle sticks and brass fasteners), building a wind energy generator to provide power for the emergency efforts (DC motor, pop cycle sticks, half ping-pong balls, plastic spoons and knives), and investigating chemical spills and how they might affect the ground water and water supply for the town (ground water models).
Engineering Futures Engineering Futures helps prepare students with skills that they don’t receive in the classroom. These people skills help prepare participants for situations they will face as professional engineers, but are also useful in the classroom and as active Tau Beta Pi members.
Adopt-A-Highway The Adopt a Highway project involves collecting trash into trash bags on both sides of a two mile stretch of Lincoln Highway on the west side of Ames. Iowa Alpha initiates and members form four groups with each group cleaning one side of the highway for 1 mile. The groups start at both ends of the 2 mile stretch of highway and meet in the middle where the bags are piled so the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) can pick them up. The DOT supplies bags and reflective vests for the participants. This is done twice a year.
Pi Mile Run The Pi Mile Run allows Tau Beta Pi members and Engineers’ Week representatives to get involved with the community, showcases the two student organizations, College of Engineering and Iowa State University in the Ames community, and supports worthy charitable causes.
Free Coffee Friday The Free Coffee Friday service project provides free coffee, tea and hot chocolate to engineering students, faculty and others between classes on two Friday mornings each month. The first Free Coffee Friday event is from 8:00 am to 10:15 am in the atrium of Hoover Hall, an area with a high volume of students going to and from class.