October 19, 2007
It’s not very often that this newspaper, set up to serve the news needs of University employees, devotes much space to undergraduate student activities or achievements. When it does, the rationale is that student success reflects well on departments, colleges and the institution itself.
This issue of the paper, however, contains yet another story about the U of S Space Design Team (USST) which is competing in this year’s Elevator 2010: Space Elevator Games Oct. 19-21 in Utah. A group of some 50 undergrads and alumni from various colleges, the USST is leading the search for a way to transport payloads and humans into space without using rockets.
Theirs is a story that has serious legs, as we say in the news business. That been proven by the fact the USST has been profiled by such media heavyweights as Discovery Channel and the Wall Street Journal, to name a few. When an organization with the clout of NASA identifies these young people as a group that will have an impact on future space exploration, people pay attention. And they learn how to pronounce ‘Saskatchewan.’ That kind of publicity is impossible to buy.
At a time when the University of Saskatchewan is focused on recruiting and retaining top-level students and faculty, the USST could be the poster kids of that campaign. Think of all the bright students who might want to get in on some of that space exploration action. Imagine a potential faculty member, hearing of the space team’s success and wondering what other exciting, cutting-edge things might be taking place “out there” in Saskatoon.
Being at the forefront of this new technology, and recognized for it, could fundamentally change the perception of this University, and indeed this province. And we have the USST to thank for that. The spotlight is shining on our undergrads in the middle of the Utah desert this weekend, but we are all basking in the glow.