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Fortis Saxonia Student Racing Team Back on Track and Searching for Young Talent After Corona Break

The members of Fortis Saxonia can look back on a 14-year history. Since 2006, the team at Chemnitz University of Technology has been developing energy-saving vehicles, with which they have repeatedly won awards and prizes - so that the success story can continue, they are looking for committed young people

Corona still literally keeps the world in suspense, even at Chemnitz University of Technology. Affected are numerous areas of the university as well as the student racing team “Fortis Saxonia” (German). A "normal" everyday working life as in the past years since the initiative was founded 14 years ago is currently not possible. While the members used to meet regularly in person for team meetings, these are currently held via BigBlueButton - an emergency solution that works surprisingly well: "Despite the obvious changes in everyday life, our work structure has not changed much," says Nico Bohn from the initiative's PR team. "Planning is everything: we are splitting up even more specifically into smaller subteams that take care of technology, finances, and PR."

However, the student initiative did not emerge from the Corona summer completely free of damage: the Shell Eco-marathon Europe (German), in which the team had participated in previous years, could not take place. This important competition is not about building the fastest car - but the most sustainable one. "But given the fact that teams from all over Europe meet there in a small area, we support this decision," Bohn emphasizes. In addition, the search for sponsors has become more difficult due to the economic slump. And there is also a lack of young talent.

Digital recruiting instead of personal search for young talent

"After the Corona Semester there is now a gap in our team, among other things because no recruiting was possible in the summer," says Nico Bohn. We tried to recruit new team members using digital means. "Anyone can join in, a technical degree in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or computer science is not a must," the student explains. "We also need committed people who take care of marketing and PR or our finances. Students from all disciplines are welcome." Even a lack of experience is not an obstacle: Learning by doing is the motto, you can start from the first semester. So this is also a good opportunity for freshmen to gain experience and get involved.

Nico Bohn explains the need for young talent right now: "Fortis Saxonia is like a 'mini-company'. We need new team members to     keep the engine running and build on our previous successes.” A look at the past years shows that a change in the team doesn't have to be so bad, but can even be beneficial. The members of Fortis Saxonia have been remixed again and again over the years, quite normally in the course of the study. With new students there was always fresh input: "The new members often brought fresh ideas and approaches to solutions to our team," remembers Nico Bohn. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Fortis Saxonia can look back on a longstanding success story. Since the student initiative was founded at Chemnitz University of Technology, seven vehicles have been built: Sax1, Sax2, Sax3, Nios, Sax4, EcoBee (German). All of them are electrically powered by a hydrogen fuel cell system (German), and if the hydrogen also comes from a green source, they are sustainable and consume few resources.

That’s why it’s worth participating

According to the team members, there are several reasons to get involved with Fortis Saxonia: "For one thing, it's a great point in any resume. With us you can gain practical experience and contacts that you would otherwise not get during your studies. In addition, you can realize your dream projects with us and have them recognized directly by the university.”

Questions about Fotis Saxonia are answered by the team via e-mail at info@fortis-saxonia.de.

(Author: Isabel Möller/Matthias Fejes/Translation: Chelsea Burris)

Matthias Fejes
02.12.2020

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