Robotics Team Wins Sustainability Award

The UMD Robotics Club, was selected as the recipient of the 2023 University of Minnesota Systemwide Sustainability Student Impact Award!

The award recognizes student collaborations from all University of Minnesota campuses who have made significant contributions to their university and local communities in helping create a more sustainable and just future. This award provides $1000 in funding for the group. Club members included in the photo above are: (front, l. to r.) Sage Magras, and Quinn Henthorne; (back, l. to r.) Owen Holmberg, David Schindler, Johnny LaCore, Andreas Orellana Abad, Kole Koolmo, Evan Miran, Riley Bruning, Larissa Thompson, and Sam Schildgen. 

UMD robotics has had a commitment to sustainability through recycling old components which would be thrown out by other departments or clubs. They use these parts as integral components in their robots which in the past have also featured sustainable themes.

Last spring, the team built a robot to automatically test soil quality in the hopes of reducing the use of fertilizers by only fertilizing the parts of a field that need it. Since then, they have continued to emphasize sustainability in robotics and the use of robotics for positive purposes in the world.

UMD robotics emphasizes learning and outreach as core themes of the club. Future engineers will play a large part in affecting sustainable policies throughout the world, but more often than not, sustainability is not taught in engineering classrooms. 

Not only does the Robotics team teach its members about sustainable engineering, the club also does outreach events in the Duluth community. Recently, UMD robotics was part of STEM Discovery Day, an outreach event in which UMD hosts kids from middle through high school to learn more about STEM. The robotics club was also part of astronomy day, another STEM outreach event hosted the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium at UMD.

The award recipients were recognized during the closing of the 2023 Sustainability Symposium on Friday, April 14th, 2023.