The beginning of the 2022-2023 season requires a brand new team recruitment cycle. During the first team interest meeting in September, we had a great showing of around 50 people. With this round of new members, we wanted to encourage more engagement from the start. To do this, we laid out a more structured onboarding process for members to get involved with the team. This process included watching a solar car documentary, reading up on rulebooks, and a little bit of math homework. Afterwards, prospective members would then schedule an interview with the team mentor, Alain Semet. The purpose of these interviews were to gauge students’ understandings of the physics behind the solar car, and to give them an insight into how the club operates. From the outside, it may seem like a relatively daunting process for new members, but as new member Mason Hainsworth puts it, “It’s less intimidating than I thought.”
Team operations were a success in the previous season, however we still had things we could improve upon. We wanted to better utilize members to more efficiently complete tasks, which would mean creating a more organized work structure. Because our goal this year as a team is to build a brand new car from the ground up for the 2023 race, it is crucial that we have all hands on deck working. New members are encouraged to work alongside older members, whether it be through shadowing, teaching, or collaborating. This will not only allow the knowledge and skills to be passed down to the new members, but to set them up to begin their own independent work on the car sooner. Work on 3D design, outreach, and shop equipment are all things that need to be taught.
First full team meeting, 11/16/22
The new car’s structural design is in its prototype phase, though we are nearing final iterations. This means that working with CAD software, primarily Solidworks, is a crucial skill that we are teaching to incoming members so they can get involved with the car sooner. Additionally, the entire team is also engaged in a fundraising campaign; this is what the majority of new members are currently working on. Fundraising is especially important this year because building a car from the ground up is significantly more expensive than retrofitting an existing car. Aside from fundraising, the team held its first full team meeting for the year on 11/16, in which we discussed our next steps and began organizing new members into groups to explore their interests. Timothy Jou, a 3rd year member and our team strategy lead, for example, will be in charge of getting some members involved with telemetry, data analysis, and team strategy for the upcoming race. Mechanical leads, Lucien Freemesser and Hailin Truman, will be teaching another group of new members 3D design, including manufacturing, aerodynamics, and the basics of composite work. We had an overwhelming majority of new members this year interested in the mechanical side of the car; however, we encourage exploration and work in all fields, as each of them are equally important.
Parent presentation for new members
The 2023 race will be a cross country race, meaning that there will be much more preparations and work to be done before the team is competition ready. Thanks to our new members, we can both increase our work force and continue passing on our knowledge to those who come after. Every new member brings with them a unique background and skills that can greatly contribute to our team and community. It is our hope that with the Green Energy Team, that we can continue building a culture of learning and teamwork with our new members, and carve a new path to victory this year.