"To inform the community and college about energy conservation..."

In the past eight years solar car racing has become an exciting new addition to college campuses around the nation. American Solar Challenge has provided a time, and a place for one of the biggest cross-country races in the nation and the nations college students have worked toward the goal of getting a competitive solar car there on time.

NDSU took on the American Solar Challenge challenge in September of 1997. Founder and President, Les Ressler, wanted to bring solar car racing to the land of the Bison. With surrounding universities already participating in the solar event, the word spread fast and members came together from a variety of disciplines around the NDSU campus. The team name was chosen as, Sunsetters. We have a determined intention of "setting the pace" at the next American Solar Challenge event in the summer of 2001.

The Sunsetters team has tackled the solar car challenge with an organized state of mind. With a strong cabinet of officers, the steps required to make the Sunsetters goal happen in 2001 were laid out and looked at individually. Fundraising was the first step concentrated on, with a price tag of 150,000 dollars this committee has its work cut out for them. A fundraising committee leader was chosen and all solar car members were encouraged to attend fundraising meetings to add ideas and provided help with this enormous task.

Car design was the next point of interest. The car was split into structural and electrical components. Members chose which part of the car they would like to work with and some decided to help with both. It is here where the solar car really starts to take its shape. Contacting potential vendors, deciding on design criteria and creating better ways to create a competitive solar car are all part of this exciting project.

Business meetings are also a strong part of the team. There are a lot of aspects of producing a solar car that are not attributed to design. University issues, officer reports, updates on what is happening in all areas of the car are all reported at these meetings. It provides a great place for new members to stop in and check out what is happening and current members to stay up-to-date on issues.

There are two faculty advisors that help oversee our operations and add input when they feel necessary. Joel Jorgenson from the electrical engineering department and Wayne Reitz from the mechanical department are our two current advisors.

As this team gets stronger there will be many more improvements and changes to our format. But with the strong background of our members and the organization of our leaders, the Sunsetters solar race team will strive to soon be a familiar name in the community and nation.

The North Dakota State University Solar Race Team:
The team photo (187KB)

First row:
Nathan Keim, Travis Kroh, Matt Brunner, Jim Karg, Matt Smith, Jason Novacek, Bill Totenhagen, Eric Bradley, Jason Kessler, Paul Buchanan

2nd row:
Dr. Wayne Reitz, Brian Freeman, Tom Triplett, Andy Ulrich, Tim Barth, Andy Paulsen, Keith Richtman, Jason Gates, Luke Graunke, Angie Parker, John Totenhagen, Joe Koehler, Adena Sisk


Team Goals
There are many goals and achievements that we would like to reach.
  1. Design and build NDSU's first solar vehicle and to compete in the American Solar Challenge in 2001.
  2. Promote increased involvement in student organizations, in all levels of education.
  3. Educate the public of new energy alternatives available for transportation.


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