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How the new Energy Coalition chair plans to expand upon the largest student organization on campus

08/16/2017 | By Claire Andersen

With the new school year comes a new board for the Energy Coalition (EC). Made up of 18 students, the board is in charge of creating and planning events as well as collaborating with industry players. Yilhak Abebe, a petroleum engineering student, is the new acting chair.  

Abebe, involved with EC for the past year, was blown away by the magnitude and influence of the organization from the first event he attended. He officially joined the EC board in spring 2017 as the vice chair of business competitions and operations. Now, Abebe is the first to take over as chair after founder Phillip Jefferson graduated in May.   

“For me, it’s a very huge thing that I’m replacing him. As the first person to replace him, I didn’t want to be in a position where I would underperform,” said Abebe.   

With this in mind, Abebe did everything he could to learn the ropes before he was enacted as chair. He says that he takes very literally the philosophy that to be a great leader, you must first be a great follower. 

“I take that to heart,” said Abebe. “I’m the type that observes. I worked hard and involved myself in everything, not just what was asked of me.”  

For the coming year, Abebe intends for many of the EC events to remain the same in order to establish them as an EC trademark. The primary events include Energy Night, the energy career fair and the energy banquet, all annual events hosted by the EC. On top of this, he also wants to focus on strengthening the EC both internally and externally.   

“Internally within the board we are going to have a structure that can be stable throughout the years to come so that it can maintain itself as a high organization throughout the years,” said Abebe. 

But he won’t stop there. Abebe plans to promote the EC externally as well, marketing the works of the organization throughout UH and in the industry. Above all, Abebe intends to grow EC as an organization that supports and highlights the achievements of UH students. 

“(We will) market EC as much as possible to where it can put us in a position where we can showcase the University of Houston and its students,” said Abebe. “When we market that, it shows the strengths of UH.”