CSU EcoCAR team gets Ram Family welcome in D.C. for DOE competition

Editor’s note: Taylor Jackson is a 2013 CSU graduate in Chemical and Biological Engineering. She works at the Department of Energy and is communications chair for the D.C. Ram Network, a chapter of the Colorado State University Alumni Association.

May 25, 2017: CSU alum Taylor Jackson greets CSU EcoCAR team in Washington, D.C. for Department of Energy EcoCAR 3 competition.

One of my favorite things about being a Ram alumna is the instant connection you feel with other Rams anywhere you go. Even if you have nothing else in common, you can connect on the deepest level of sharing a family.

While going about my normal work day at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., I heard that there was a CSU team competing in DOE’s EcoCAR 3 Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition right outside my office. I knew I had to go say hello. I walked (ok, ran a little) down the line of cars scanning for a Ram logo, still wearing the CSU lanyard that holds my ID badge every day and reminds my coworkers that above all else, I am a Ram.

CSU EcoCAR: Aggie Orange Camaro

In a sea of white competition cars, it was easy to spot the bright Aggie Orange Camaro—which a team member proudly described to me as “spicy.” In a moment I’m sure all Rams have experienced, the words “Go Rams” escaped from my lips before my brain even had time to process what I was saying, and the team members’ heads instinctively whipped around with grins on their faces.

The warm welcome I received from the team contrasted the dreary weather outside. It was so wonderful to see two of my worlds collide. I’ve always been passionate about the innovative, cutting-edge research being done at DOE, and it made it even more exciting to see that through this program fellow Rams are getting hands-on experience and changing the future of how vehicles use energy.

There are about 50 students altogether who have worked on the CSU EcoCAR team including engineering, journalism and other majors contributing different expertise from building the car to marketing it. A smaller group then accompanied the car to D.C. for the competition.

I could tell the impact this program is making just by talking to the students and advisors. These stalwart Rams were full of passion and excitement, which I think was bolstered by the fact that they were talking to another member of their Ram family, connected through our shared pride for CSU, who could appreciate the subtle nods to Ram traditions that might otherwise go unnoticed. They welcomed me into a photo with the team and the car, joking that I belonged in the photo just as much as they did since we were all part of the same family.

CSU EcoCar: Aggie Orange Camaro

It’s all consistent with everything I’ve experienced with the D.C. Ram Network since moving here three years ago. Whether we’re meeting at a bar to cheer on the Rams in the Rocky Mountain Showdown, volunteering to clean up the Anacostia River for CSUnity, or welcoming the Northern Colorado Honor Flight, spending time with my fellow Rams is always something I look forward to.

I couldn’t be more proud to be a CSU Ram and I look forward to a lifetime of memories like these.

Go CSU EcoCAR team! Go Rams!