The Offroad Illini have not let the pandemic stop it from reaching out into the community. Since the outreach chair was created last year, the team has represented mechanical engineering for a Society of women engineers event and hosted a letter writing party for first responders and front-line workers. In the interest of continuing to increase our impact on the community, the Offroad Illini partnered up with the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club to host an event introducing high schoolers to the different disciplines of engineering and what it is like to study engineering in college. The Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club is an organization invested in creating a positive environment, generating fun, and fostering a sense of belonging among youths. Part of that mission is ensuring college and career readiness. Participants got to ask about what it is like to study different engineering majors and what to expect when studying engineering in college. Each participant was also given one-on-one time with a volunteer of their choice, so they could talk about when specifically interested them.
Maddie Yang, the outreach coordinator for Offroad Illini, said that the one-on-one time really helped volunteers connect with the participants, and that events will be more focused around that in the future. She plans to have more interactive activities in the future like guiding participants through the design process and teaching them the basics of computer aided modeling (CAD). There are also hopes of having an in-person meetup in which the participants would get to see and work on the baja car, along with an explanation of what the major components are and how they were designed. It is not uncommon for young adults to go to college and not really know what they want to do. In modeling, designing, and getting their hands dirty, participants can experience a slice of engineering for themselves, and have insight on if they would enjoy it as a career.
“it [community service] builds community within our team” – Maddie Yang, Outreach Coordinator
The Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club has expressed interest in continuing the partnership, and there has been talk of expanding the events to include the other car teams. In fact, there are already two more events in the books on March 23rd and April 13th, so look forward to those.
Written by: Matt Kapnick 3/6/21