Becoming a New Member – ATO RSO – By Madeleine Meyer

           Becoming a new member of any group where you don’t know anyone can be challenging. Starting off at Southern Illinois University with the LDP was awesome. Within the Leadership Development Program, the members share the same values and work ethic but we differ when it comes to interests. I had the opportunity to join Automotive Technology Organization (ATO) through the Automotive Technology program where everyone shares a passion for cars and racing. The great thing about ATO is the many different options available to the members through the offering of different project cars. I am personally part of the Del Sol group.

                In this group we work on a Honda Del Sol, which is SIU’s Autocross car. Autocross is a sport that consists of maneuvering though a cone track as fast as possible without knocking over the cones. Each week, we meet for Wednesday night work nights where we modify the car to improve performance, improve safety, and fix any repairs needed on the towing rigs and trailers. We regularly compete in Saint Louis, MO, and Paducah, KY where the members are given the opportunity to race the Del Sol as well as  network with fellow gear-heads at the events.

                As a team, the Del Sol group came up with goals for the team and the car. For example, we are going to work to find sponsors to cover the drivers’ fee for race days and donors to supply parts for upgrades. We are also working on starting up our own social media pages to showcase our project and progress throughout the year. Through teamwork and dedication, I believe that our team can reach the goals we have set.

                Some of the LDP members proposed a challenge to set shared values in our other RSO groups. I believe that having the same expectations of each member will greatly increase our efficiency as a team and help build lifelong friendships; I see it in action every day in the LDP. I am excited to establish shared values with a group that has such a passion for speed, fun, and Autocross.