On May 4-5 of this year, the first workshop of the Solar Decathlon Africa was held in Benguerir, Morocco at the Green Energy Park. Representatives from each team were in attendance, the majority sleeping overnight at a hotel in Marrakech and taking buses to the conference, which was about an hour drive away. Advisor Tim Ohno and Design Manager Lucy Davis represented the Inter House Team from Colorado School of Mines, and got to meet the team members and advisors from Université Cadi Ayyad (UCA) in person! After exchanging a lot of emails, it was nice to be able to put faces to names.
On the first day of the workshop, the Inter House was represented by three advisors and about nine students from Mines and UCA. After formal introductions to the Solar Decathlon Africa by many of the people in charge, one or two students from each team gave a short presentation about their projects. It was really interesting to see the makeup of each team and their goals for the house they’re building! Day 1 was filled with a lot of information and fantastic coffee breaks with Moroccan tea and bite-sized treats. It was great to learn about the competition as a whole, and for all of the students to start bonding!
On the second day, because it was a Saturday, many more Moroccan students were able to attend. It was great to see the same people from UCA, but also to be joined by about 10 other students from Ecolé Nationale des Sciences Appliquées-Safi (ENSA). They took a two hour train ride from Safi on the coast to Benguerir to attend this convention! Many of these students didn’t know exactly what the Solar Decathlon was, but after a quick explanation from Lucy, the team really started to work together and had great ideas already flowing. This day was filled with a lot of team time, with different experienced either Solar Decathlon executives or advisors rotating groups to listen to ideas and give advice. The Inter House Team had so many students in attendance that we needed two tables to fit everyone! Experiencing the flow of ideas between all the students that had just met each other was incredible. By the end of the day, everyone was exhausted but also intellectually fulfilled and excited for the project to really take off!
In just two short days, the team members from across the world were able to become friends and band together to brainstorm and get exponentially more excited for the competition. We can’t wait to see what great things everyone can accomplish by working together!
It was sure hard to leave the amazing people and exciting environment that Morocco contained, but we can’t wait to return next fall to put the house together!
Inter House Team Design Manager
Colorado School of Mines