Zero does not equal nothing

Jul 7, 2006

Zero Section was such a busy time at Kettering University this year it could have been called the "Git-er-done" section instead.

Zero Section at Kettering is that three-week period between the end of one academic year and the start of another, usually falling on the last two weeks of June and the first week of July. This year, while many faculty, staff and students took time away from campus, a lot of major projects were underway including renovations, construction, computer upgrades, tree removal, some new staff arrived on campus and Kettering helped fulfill a wish.

Renovations involved new paint and carpet on the fourth floor of Thompson Hall, new floor and walls in Electrical and Computer Engineering labs, fresh paint in the International Room in the Campus Center, removal of diseased trees near the Academic Building and repairs to the tile floor at the tunnel entrance to the Academic Building (the tunnel runs from the Campus Center to the Academic Building under Third Avenue).

Some of the changes seem more like a game of hide and seek. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering moved to the former Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering offices on the second floor of the AB. Now instead of turning right at the top of the ramp, one has to turn left. 

Construction projects included adding a T-Mobile cell phone service tower and control station to the west side of campus, and sand volleyball courts were added to the recreation fields between the Connie and Jim John Recreation Center and the Flint River.

Technology got a facelift in the form of hardware and software improvements including a host of IT upgrades such as Internet bandwidth increased to 30Mbps from 7.5Mbps which will quadruple Internet speed on campus, ECE office network and telephone infrastructure upgrade, 41 new LCD monitors installed in the Applied Math lab, 15 new LCD monitors installed in the IME computer lab, 42 new high-speed computers with DVD burners installed in the General PC lab, and new DVD software installed in all computer labs.

In addition to all the physical changes there were also some personnel changes. Robert Simpson, interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, and the new associate provost for Student Affairs, Joyce Shotick, started work July 5.

Maybe the best part of Zero Section this year was Kettering helping to fulfill the wish of a young man from Philadelphia who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Allan Robinson, 17, wants to design cars for a living. He was able to explore that dream with the help of the Make A Wish Foundation, which arranged for him to spend a day with General Motors designers and a half day at Kettering seeing where many automotive engineers learn their craft.

Robinson and his mother, Janet, visited campus June 27 and toured the Crash Safety Center, the SAE garage and the Engine Test Cell. In the Crash Lab Robinson was able to launch the crash sled and had a private crash safety design lecture from Dr. Janet Brelin-Fornari, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering.

He followed that up with a tour of the student Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) garage where three Kettering teams design and build vehicles for Formula Race Car, Mini Baja and Clean Snowmobile competitions, with Ray Rust, senior lab coordinator for Mechanical Engineering.

Robinson, who will be a senior at the Philadelphia Charter High School of Architecture and Design in the fall, said he learned a lot about engineering during his visit to Kettering. And appreciated the Kettering community's response to his wish.

Written by Dawn Hibbard