UB-SEDS was founded in 2007 and currently boasts about 30 to 40 regular members. Most members are Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering majors, but some members are majoring in other STEM subjects, such as Physics or Math. Within the UB Student Association, UB-SEDS is a Permanent member of the UB Engineering Council. The missions of this chapter as outlined in the club Constitution are as follows:
- To educate the UB student body and the general public about the benefits of space exploration and development,
- To provide members with relevant internship, research, and publication opportunities,
- To encourage area youth to get involved with space development and exploration,
- To foster international discussion and the exchange of ideas related to the exploration and development of space, and
- To encourage collaboration of many fields of study in order to integrate a wider group of people bound for space exploration.
UB-SEDS has a history of strong involvement with SEDS USA, with 10 members serving on the SEDS national board since the chapter’s formation. Additionally, SpaceVision 2012 was hosted at UB.
Over the past year, UB-SEDS has participated in the following Community Outreach events in order to pursue the first and third goals of our mission statement: educating the general public about space development and fostering interest in space (and STEM in general) among area youth.
UB-SEDS has held many educational outreach events on Saturday mornings at the Buffalo Museum of Science to do space-related activities with local elementary-age children visiting the museum. This year, members have run activities such as paper-airplane contests, building Lego spaceships, and shooting pump rockets.
Additionally, UB-SEDS members recently volunteered to give tours of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department on Accepted Students Day. This was a great opportunity, not only to give back to the university, but also a chance to reach out to prospective future members and raise awareness of the opportunities available through SEDS.
UB SWE Shadow Day
UB-SEDS members also assisted UB SWE (the Society of Women Engineers) in hosting their recent Shadow Day event, which brought middle-school-age girls on campus for a day to encourage their developing interest in engineering and STEM fields. The SEDS members showed the visiting students around the SEDS Workshop.
Individual High-Power Rocketry
A strong interest in High-Power Rocketry is one of UB-SEDS’s greatest assets and a favorite tradition. Recently, seven of the US-SEDS Rocketry participants travelled to Torrey Farms in Potter, NY to launch their individual rockets and earn National Association of Rocketry certifications. In April, five participants earned their Level 1 Certifications and another earned his Level 2 Certification. UB-SEDS members generally attend these launches once or twice a year.
University Student Rocketry Competition
UB-SEDS began competing in SEDS USA’s University Student Rocketry Competition in 2012 and took first place in the competition in 2014. This year, the USRC team meets once a week to work on developing and building this year’s submission. The group is currently finishing up building the fin cans for both the upper stage and booster. Additionally, the electronics bay is almost complete and members have begun hooking up the electronics.
Engineering Week BattleBot Competition
This year at UB’s Engineering Week BattleBot competition, SEDS made its first showing in three years. Unfortunately, technical issues in the early rounds of the competition led to a stunning loss, but the club was proud to have re-started the BattleBot project and created an intimidating chainsaw-equipped bot.
UB-SEDS prides itself in hosting a number of various social events throughout the academic year to bring our members together. This year, US-SEDS hosted a handful of movie nights on-campus, featuring space films such as Apollo 10 and Interstellar. A majority of the club also visited a local theatre in October to view “The Martian.” In January, members celebrated the start of the spring semester by gathering to view Andy Weir’s SpaceTalks event.
During E-Week, UB-SEDS hosted a new “Build Your Own Heat Shield” event for members of other clubs to create a pseudo-heat shield using cardboard, glue, nails, ceramic dust, gravel and sand. Once the shields were complete, they were tested to see how long they could hold up a portion of burning thermite without breaking. This was the first year that this event was held and it was a huge success.
One of the greatest achievements of this year was the re-booting of the UB-SEDS Astronomy Project group after a period of inactivity. During celestial events such as a lunar eclipse, members meet on campus to observe the night sky through an H-alpha solar telescope. Educational events are held indoors when the weather does not cooperate. There are also plans-in-the-making for a trip to the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium at Buffalo State University.
Goals for Next Year
For the upcoming 2016-2017 academic year, the new E-board hopes to start a weather balloon project, enter the national-level IREC rocketry competition, and develop an internal mentoring program to train the future leadership of the club.
Through outreach events, technical projects, and social gatherings, UB-SEDS prides itself in creating a close-knit community where the students of UB come together to gain relevant technical experience, give back to the community, and enjoy sharing their passion for space exploration.
The University at Buffalo SEDS Executive Board of 2015-2016
Daniel Miller, President
Tristan Stoner, Vice President
Eric Borchert, Treasurer and Director of Educational Outreach
Alex Paluch, Secretary
Ben Cammett, Director of Public Relations
Maggie Petrella, Council of Chapters Representative