First Day Of Business In The New Kummer Student Design Center

Lost in all of last week’s excitement about the new Kummer Center dedication was a little-known saga of camaraderie among competitors.
Memorial Day weekend in Pittsburg, Kansas is the second jewel of the Triple Crown of SAE Baja racing. The Miners’ season is already over, but a few months back a team from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil asked if they could use S&T facilities as a staging area en route to the Kansas event, and the SDELC said “C’mon in!”
So while we were working late nights to prepare for the Kummer Center dedication, USP Brazil’s baja car slipped into town, followed by a nearly a dozen team members the next day. The Brazilians were THRILLED to have the old Student Design Center building to reassemble their car and work out last-minute technical issues, all while living in vacant S&T dorms.
Brazil bajaDSC_2365.jpg
Once they got the car squared away they wanted to rehearse their design presentations in English (Portuguese is their native language), so they asked SDELC shop and safety operations manager Richard Dalton, and associate director Paul Hirtz to stand in as judges. Richard and Paul played devil’s advocate, looking for weak spots in the team’s technical explanations, and giving the style pointers about how to get their points across to the “real” judges. Their English, by the way, was excellent. Our Portuguese, not so much.
The whole point here is that design teams are a “community” of competitors who freely share design ideas, help each other out, and even party together. Members of the S&T Baja team might get to hang out with our Brazilian guests tonight and swap design stories.
Speaking of parties, we’re hosting a U.S.-style BBQ tomorrow for our South American friends. Before they head south next week we’ll even make sure they make their way to Rolla traditions Alex’s Pizza and Slice of Pie.
Rumor is they’ll stop by Six Flags next week as part of their Tour de St Louis before flying back to what passes for a South American winter.
“Safe trip, Guys! See you next year!” “Adeus!, Palavra de despedida!, Tchau!”