Students from our university have participated in solar car races since 1993 — the early days of this particular student design competition. We’ve even won two championships — in 1999 and 2003 — and our solar car success has helped pave the way for other types of hands-on, student design teams. This year’s North American Solar Challenge, a nearly-two-week, 2,400-mile trek from Texas to Calgary that began this morning (Sunday, July 13, 2008), finds us in some heavy competition.
The competition is not just among the students and their sun-powered vehicles, but also among the bloggers who are covering them. Blogs, Utterz, Flickr, Twitter and FriendFeed are among the social networking tools being used by colleges and universities to cover the solar car race.
For our part, we actually have two blogs devoted to this race: the official solar car team blog (pictured above) and our official student design blog, Experience This!
Our communications department dispatched two staff members to tag along with the Missouri S&T solar car team. The duo of Lance Feyh and Tom Shipley will post reports from the road throughout the duration of the trip. These will including some Utterz audiocasts and (soon I hope) some video clips. Meanwhile Bob Phelan of our student design center is also along for the ride, taking photos for his Flickr site and posting updates on the Experience This! blog.
Back home, I’ll be using our university Twitter account to send out updates and links back to both blogs.
Several other universities are also blogging the race. The odds-on favorite University of Michigan Team has a nice blog going, as does Red River College, the only community college in the running — and apparently the only team with a chef on board.
Finally, one solar car fan has created a North American Solar Challenge FriendFeed site aggregating all the NASC solar car team blogs and other feeds. If you’re looking for a single stop for all your solar car news, that’s a good place to go.
Now playing: Carsick Cars – He Sheng (Rock N Roll Hero)
3 thoughts on “Blogging the North American Solar Challenge”
Thanks for the plug Andrew. This is actually our first attempt at providing regular blogging of a student project. It’s been a bit challenging getting updates at times (apparently keeping the car on the road is deemed more important), so I can definitely see the benefit of having dedicated comm staff along for the ride.
However, I hope what we lack in high quality photo and video content is somewhat made up for by semi-witty one-liners and illegally uploaded YouTube clips.
The blog has actually been very popular with College staff, students, alumni, execs, and project sponsors. Many have been leaving supportive comments for the team. I don’t know if I’d say it has pulled in a lot of traffic from the broader community yet, but I think readership will grow as the race makes its way through Winnipeg at the end of the week.
Red River College