Contributing to SXSW Eco 2012

South By Southwest (SXSW) Conferences have been a place to foster discovery across industry for 25 years now. Instituted in 1987, SXSW began as an extension of the New York City music festival, whose primary purpose was to, as their website states,

create an event that would act as a tool for creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, to bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas

SXSW continues to achieve that goal but now, in many more industries than just the music industry. In fact, SXSW now holds festivals that span across the film, emerging technologies, and education industries in addition to the newly created SXSW Eco festival which aims to bring sustainable solutions that can meet today’s societal issues. Specifically, they attract a diverse range of people, or thinkers really, who can, together, come up with impactful solutions that can feasibly be employed by societies and cultures around the world. Although the people who come to SXSW range in their background and knowledge, they come from places that suffer from similar issues, and SXSW is just a common sense approach to taking on those issues in a straightforward and unapologetic manner.

For the most recent SXSW Eco, EcoCAR 2 contributed by bringing a few representatives who were involved in a discussion panel in addition to talking to visitors at an EcoCAR 2 booth. Mississippi State team member, Tom Goddette, was one of those representatives and was thrilled to be a part of such a great collaboration, as well as Trevor Crain from the University of Washington, Steven Boyd from the U.S. Department of Energy, and Cindy Svestka from General Motors. Jerry James Stone moderated the panel.

“I was very excited to be in Austin representing EcoCAR 2, both in the panel discussion and at the booth that we had at the conference,” Goddette said. “I had a great time talking to different attendees and participants while at the booth. The groups of people that we were talking to were very eco-minded so speaking was different than a normal EcoCAR outreach event. A lot of people knew about hybrid cars and wanted specific information about our competition cars. Overall I thought most of the people there were interested in what we are doing. It was great to see what the other companies and groups that were at the conference were doing to promote green initiatives.

“In the panel discussion we talked about how the EcoCAR program was influencing the growing number of students within the competition but also the impact on the auto industry as a whole. I was able to talk about our EcoCAR experiences and about how EcoCAR has changed my college studies. We also talked about the design process that all of the teams went through to get to Year Two of the competition and about the build process so far.

“I had a great time in Austin and am excited to see everyone at the Winter Workshop and Year Two Competition!”