As a follow-up to its Sept. 1 call-out meeting, the TechHOUNDS robotics team will hold an orientation for new members on Sept. 8 in Room C105 after school. According to club sponsor George Giltner, this meeting will present a more in-depth look at what each division within TechHOUNDS does.
The divisions include robot operations, programming, construction, website design, animation and public relations. Giltner said each division has approximately 10 to 15 members, while the entire team has about 60 members.
Ryan Wilmes, team leader and senior, said he is looking forward to the orientation event.
“It’s just sort of exciting to explain everything to all the new members. A lot of them are amazed; they go, ‘Wow, you can really do that?’” he said. “It’s neat for them to recognize what we can do.”
At the call-out meeting, Giltner said team leaders covered what to expect as a TechHOUND, what the time commitment is, some of the events and competitions the team participates in and how to get involved. In addition, applications, which are due Sept. 15, were also available at the meeting.
“The application is simple. It’s just contact information, which also includes what division you’re most interested in. It doesn’t really lock (potential members) in; it just gives us an idea of how many people are interested in each area,” Giltner said. “Lastly, they have to write a one-page essay if they’re new members, explaining what they can bring to the team and why they want to join, (and) if they’re returning members, explaining what they did last year to contribute to the team and what they hope to improve for next year.”
For prospective students who could not attend the call-out meeting, Giltner said they can approach him for application materials and club information. Despite the initial application, Giltner said there is not an extensive selection process for club members.
“I don’t have any cuts,” he said. “The only requirement is that (members) need to raise $150 by Dec. 15, and they need to attend 80 percent of the mandatory meetings during the build season. It’s just like a sport—you have to be there every day after school, and you have to make 80 percent of the meetings to be on the team.”
Both Giltner and Wilmes said they are looking for more members for the public relations (PR) division of TechHOUNDS.
“Two years ago, one of our team leaders, Meera Chander, was heavily involved in PR and set up a lot of our PR stuff. That’s sort of what she did,” Wilmes said. “After we lost her, there was no one really to pick up the slack, so we’re looking to just gain some people—anyone who enjoys writing, reading, doing graphics—to help us out.”
According to Giltner, PR provides communication to current TechHOUNDS team sponsors and potential sponsors. Members work on the website and design T-shirts and other apparel that advertises the robotics team.
“This year, I’ve really been encouraging our team to come up with a new video that explains what we’re all about so we can send it to new companies and hopefully get more sponsorships, and also to put on our website so anyone looking at our website can get a better idea of what we do,” Giltner said. “Video editing, video recording, coming up with a video itself: we’re looking for some people.”
As far as the time commitment that TechHOUNDS demands, Wilmes said it is not a major issue for him and other teammates.
“You just have to work on your time management. As long as you don’t waste time in SRT and such, you can get a majority of your homework done then. During the build season, before the Monday, Wednesday, Friday meetings, you have three free hours, and you get can homework help from fellow TechHOUNDS members,” Wilmes said. “It’s almost like you have personal tutors at your disposal.”
Though it is currently not build season, Giltner said the team still remains busy.
“During the pre-season, meetings are not required, but we try to focus on getting some practice and exposure to robotics to the first-time members, so that they’re not just thrown into the six weeks (of build season) not knowing what’s going on,” he said. “We spend the first semester exposing them to the machines, the software, and the overall operations.”