Planning Committee 2021 Season

Planning any event, particularly Robot in 3 Days (Ri3D), is no easy task even without COVID restrictions. Full Moon Robotics wanted to provide some more details about our planning process in order to help teams.

After our first ever Ri3D event in January 2020, we spent time reflecting on the success of this event and areas that could be improved. We want to remind teams it can be beneficial to reflect on each season to see what changes can be made to better serve the needs of your evolving team.

In the fall, the officers of the FIRST Alumni Association at NC State met virtually to discuss the interest and possibility of holding an Ri3D event again. We decided that a larger planning committee would be more effective in addressing the challenges faced last year and the logistics of holding another Ri3D event.

The officers created role descriptions and invited members of the club to apply for positions in late October. The roles on the Planning Committee simplify how we create informative content, acquire the needed materials and space, and most importantly keep everyone safe, physically, and mentally. We highly suggest creating role descriptions for leaders on your team whether they be on a planning committee or not to help establish the expectations of each position.

Full Moon Robotics is a group made up of entirely college students, so the Planning Committee had to handle discussions around logistics that might be normally handled by team mentors or other adults. Even if student team members are not directly responsible for all of the areas mentioned below, they can still support these adults.

Our Planning Committee Roles are:

  • Facilitator (Anna) - schedules, manages and leads team meetings and communications

  • Documentation (Emma) - makes guidelines, creates and edits written content

  • Video Production (Joe) - prepares both livestream content and video tutorials

  • Safety (Sam) - sources PPE, helps enforce safety regulations (general and COVID)

  • Quartermaster (Collin) - identifies and obtains all tools and parts needed for Ri3D

  • Budget (Anupam) - manages the designated Ri3D funds, tracks spending, and maintains a database

  • Recruiting and Team Management (Anna) - develops team structure, recruits members, and determines team leadership

  • Location (Sam) - scouts potential locations, acts as the liaison between the location and planning committee

  • Mental Health (Jake) - develops guidelines and resources for ensuring mental health

  • Schedule and Team Strategy (Samuel R.A.) - manages the master schedule, develops an overall strategy for Ri3D

  • Brand (Ethan) - coordinates social media posts on a variety of platforms

  • Food and Drink (Todd) - organizes and coordinates food for the team

After any team gets a leadership group together, the team must decide how often it needs to meet. We decided that a weekly meeting schedule would be best when we began in November. As we got closer to the event, the Planning Committee decided to meet for a daily check-in session to finalize important details. The daily check-in sessions were shorter than our regular weekly meetings and only lasted as long as necessary. It is important to evaluate your meeting schedule over time to make sure it allows for tasks to be accomplished but without creating stress or burnout in team members.

When planning for an event, you need to consider the goals and scope of your event, as well as the resources required. Safety, a core component of any FIRST season, has become even more important in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Planning Committee keeps safety as a top priority, by following our state and university guidelines and working with each space in order to establish additional safety measures. Please check your local guidelines before planning any event.

Full Moon Robotics formed a Planning Committee in order to tackle the challenge of planning an impactful and informative event while keeping everyone safe. If your team is having difficulties planning out your season or even just team meetings, it can be helpful to establish a similar group that's dedicated to the different logistics of holding a meeting in the era of COVID.


Authors:

Anna Lawrence

Anna Lawrence

Recruiting & Team Management

Emma Holincheck

Emma Holincheck

Documentation Lead