First meeting of the year

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We had our first official team meeting Wednesday night at the Technological Institute. At the meeting we welcomed all our new members, mainly freshmen, and gave them a clearer picture of what exactly NUsolar is.

The meeting started in a classroom, where we went over all the different teams that NUsolar is compromised of. These include the:

Sponsorship and marketing team, which handles NUsolar’s public relations, media communications and the corporate partnerships which make the team possible

Outreach team, which manages the team’s attendance at community events like the Evanston Green Living Festival, Skokie Spring Greening, and local school appearances.

Electrical team, which designs the battery pack and solar array, and makes sure the electrical systems (which manage battery charging, airgap, regenerative braking, battery protection and live telemetry) function correctly.

Mechanical team, which designs the mechanical aspects of the car like the brakes, chassis, suspension, roll cage, outer shell, seat, and essentially everything else that doesn’t fall into the electrical team’s realm.

After everyone learned about the different teams and what they do, we all went outside to play with the car. Hopefully seeing and touching SC5 helped our new members understand the basics of how a solar car works, and illustrated the immense scale of a solar car design project. Last year when I first joined, I couldn’t believe that an entire, fully functional solar car could be designed by college students. A year later, and I’m a college student who is designing a solar car.

We stuck around for some Q & A and got to know each other, then put the car back in the garage and headed home as it was getting late.

New members inspect SC5 while old members answer questions

Our main mission for the rest of the year is to complete our next-generation solar car. We need to have it ready in time for American Solar Challenge 2012, which will probably be held in June. Considering how huge of an undertaking building a complete solar car in under a year is, then adding homework, exams, other activities, a social life (sometimes) and everything else that comes with being a full-time student on top of that, it is clear that time will be a commodity. As we make our way through this ambitious year, be sure to check back on this blog, or our Facebook & Twitter pages to see how we’re doing!

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