UW-Platteville's SAE desires sponsor interest

November 11, 2003

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PLATTEVILLE-SAE is the abbreviation for Society of Automotive Engineers, a world-wide organization with professional as well as student affiliations. UW-Platteville kick-started their connection with SAE, as the Mini-Baja Development Group, in 1984 and started competing in collegiate design competitions in 1985. Their first SAE race was held in Michigan, sponsored by Briggs & Stratton Corp. of Milwaukee.

UWP student and SAE formula team lead Bill Kuntz said, "The competitions see more than 4,500 students from 500 universities across six continents in attendance, and there are over 450 different events every year." UWP now competes in the Formula, Mini-Baja, Clean Snowmobile and

Aerodynamic categories of SAE. Students learn how to put their classroom efforts into designing and fabricating the vehicles they compete. Each year they have to improve on their cost, design and performance levels with a 70 percent redesign change in their vehicles. The events that are sponsored throughout the world bring classroom education, designing, and building to a recognizable level, with many SAE member students acquiring significant positions after graduation with companies such as GM, Ford and Honeywell, to name just a few.

Research shows students lose interest in mathematics and science between grades four and eight, which are fundamental in entering collegiate engineering programs. In 1990, the SAE Foundation started funding two education curricula for these grades. "A World In Motion" and "A World in Motion, Challenge II" helps students become prepared to attend engineering programs at universities across the nation.

The Society of Automotive Engineers was started in 1905, with the first vice-president being the one and only Henry Ford. As with many organizations, SAE worldwide started out with few members (30) and now boasts 83,000 strong and is closing in on a 100th anniversary celebration. Kunst said, "Platteville's chapter has 90 members and is the 34th largest university chapter in the world."

SAE earns most of their costs with very little school support. It has been an organization comparable to the air in car tires; it can't be seen, but without it the car goes nowhere. SAE has been going strong for nearly 100 years and UWP is proud to be a chapter.

If you would like to know more about SAE or support this organization's efforts, e-mail sae@uwplatt.edu

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