Robotics strained for cash

November 6, 2008 — by Kevin Mu

With a shortage of sponsors and funds, the Robotics club is struggling so far this year; its 20 active members need to raise thousands of dollars before the start of the season in January.

According to junior president Erika Ye, the club needs about $15,000 to $20,000 in order for their season to run successfully. From membership fees alone, Robotics has $6,000 to $7,000.

In order to fill the money gap, the club applying for grants from Rotary and PTSO, as well as looking for sponsors in organizations such as Google and NASA. A school-wide e-mail sent out last week asked for student support and parent donations for the team. In addition, the club is considering starting a Robotics boosters program, which would host fundraising events and sell merchandise in order to raise money, vice-president Arthur Chang said.

Normally, costs are lower because one of the club’s major sponsors, Berger Manufacturing, provides the team with materials like sheet metal to build their robots. This year, however, Berger has discontinued its sponsorship, leaving the club in a difficult position. No official reason has been given for the withdrawal, although Ye thinks it is a result of economic problems.

“Without [Berger], we’re in trouble,” Ye said. And without enough funds, “we won’t have a season,” said vice president Cordell Hollingsworth; however, he feels confident that the club will fulfill their quota by the start of the season.

Several club members also expressed their frustration with the club’s lack of money.

“We need better [supplies] to build a better robot,” said sophomore Amish Rohatgi. “I’m disappointed that we don’t have enough money to get the appropriate materials.”

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