Annual Cupertino Robotics Winter Social

This was one of the biggest events I’ve ever spoken at. No, it wasn’t some sort of competition and no, it wasn’t for some sort of cause or charity. But it was for my community - my second family, robotics. This event, the Cupertino Robotics Winter Potluck, had previously happened when CHS Robotics was in its few years of existence. Having suddenly expanded into 12 teams, we wanted to ensure that people from the teams did not lose touch with each other. As a result, we brought this event back to encourage a social, interactive robotics community.

The event itself was planned for months; we wanted it to be as spectacular as possible. We wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just students who could attend - families should come and have fun. We wanted to make sure that we not only had a presentation detailing what we did as a club, we could also drive around robots to show what we’ve built here in robotics. All 8 FTC teams and our FRC Team 2473 brought out their robots to drive around. We even had a Super Smash Bros. game going on with a Wii U that our Secretary Avinash brought in.

As a club expands, it sometimes loses touch of the family-like things that make it a club, not a business. In essence, it becomes a bureaucracy. While there are structural intricacies in place to ensure we have some level of organization within the club, I personally feel like no one is empirically above someone else - we are all members of a giant collective, each with our own roles to perform. When I spoke in front of the crowd of around 200 people, I didn’t feel like I was giving a lecture. Rather, I felt like a boy who eagerly came home to his parents to tell them about what he learned at school. It was just like talking to a family - I could give my honest views on how the club was doing.

The FLL, FTC, and FRC parts of our presentation were great - they were run by leads within the respective programs and laid out a basic idea of how the robots in each division worked. Jacob, one of our mentors, also gave a monologue on what it was like being a mentor at Cupertino Robotics. Mokshith, my co-host and the Vice-President, and I talked about the other various aspect of the club as well.

The most interesting part for me was when I had to explain the Cupertino Robotics motto, “Building People, Building Robots”. I’ve thought about this many times before, but I’ve never really had to explain my ideas to so many people all at once. When I spoke, however, it didn’t feel like I was nervous. Rather, I felt content, as if people could see what robotics is truly like from the perspective of a student. In the end, I felt relieved and satisfied that I could truly speak my opinions on what robotics means to me - and that I could give the community an insight into the world that we hold dear in robotics.

Written By: Abhinav Ayalur (Cupertino Robotics President)

Cupertino Robotics Student