For the third year in a row, SVSU hosted the FIRST Robotics state championship from Wednesday, April 10, until Saturday, April 13. In total, 160 teams competed in the competitions on three of the four days.
This year marked the 30th season of FIRST robotics competitions.
The event brought an estimated 8,000 people to the Saginaw community and SVSU’s campus.
The theme for this year was “Destination: Deep Space,” presented by the Boeing Company.
The game this year involved themed tasks for each team to complete. First, the teams had to place plates on two rockets and “cargo ships,” then load the ships with “cargo” balls.
Code Red Robotics, team 5567, was led by two English teachers who believe robotics is one of the best ways to get students involved in science, engineering, technology and math (STEM).
“We started out with five students in year one,” said Jennifer Glushyn, a team coach. “Now, we’re a fifth-year team and we are the biggest team in the school right now.”
Students work all year to prepare their skills and robots for the competition. Each team must build robots to complete all the tasks and win points, which will ultimately earn them a spot at the world championship.
“We prepare all summer, and we never know what the game will be, but we’re always trying to be a little more creative, a little more innovative and teach our kids,” Glushyn said. “This past summer, we developed a frisbee shooter and a t-shirt cannon because we’ve never made anything that propelled something.”
All the events at SVSU were in the O’Neill Arena. The pit area, where the teams housed their robots, was in the Field House.
The pit area was open to spectators and families as long as they wore eye protection. All events were free to the public, as the competition was sponsored by companies in STEM fields such as Dow and Nexteer.
The event served as a recruitment opportunity for SVSU, as well. There were information tables about SVSU programs in the O’Neill Arena, which allowed attendees to talk to university representatives.