Three Walker College of Business students help make up the 2018 crew of Appalachian State University's Cruiser Class solar car ROSE (Racing on Solar Energy).
Sustainable business minor Hunter Bristow, finance and banking major Diego Lewis and environmental economics and policy major Kali Smith, are part of the team of 15 that will compete in this year's American Solar Challenge.
Hunter Bristow, a freshman sustainable technology major and sustainable business minor from Chapin, South Carolina, is on the electrical team.
Bristow said he has been interested in sustainable transportation since converting his GMC Sonoma to a fully electric vehicle when he was in 10th grade.
Being a part of Team Sunergy allows Bristow to learn from other individuals and contribute his skills to the team, he said. Once he learns how something works, Bristow said he enjoys working on ways to improve it; he's not afraid to get his hands dirty to get the job done.
"When I first toured Appalachian, I knew I wanted to be a part of the solar vehicle team," he said. "There are plenty of dreamers in the world, but the doers change the planet."
Diego Lewis, a senior finance and banking major from Chapel Hill, is the business director.
Lewis began his career at Appalachian in 2014, eventually deciding on finance and banking as his major. He joined Team Sunergy in October 2016.
Since taking over the business director position in May 2017, Lewis said he has been working to make sure the team has the appropriate funding, media representation and online presence necessary for success. Outside of his time with the team, he said he likes building computers, running in the woods with his dog, Xavi, and cooking.
"This project has provided me with endless opportunities for meaningful contribution to a worthwhile cause while teaching me innumerable lessons I will carry with me throughout the rest of my professional career," Lewis said.
Kali Smith, a junior environmental economics and policy major and sustainable technology minor from Connelly Springs, is the operations director.
Smith is driven by sustainability, she said, and ensuring she does everything she can to reduce her negative environmental impact.
Smith takes on many roles within Team Sunergy, but one of her favorites, she said, is being the point of communication with other teams and talking to different members around the world each week. Smith said she can't wait to continue to travel with the team and expand its reach over the next few years.
"I want to be a part of the beginning of the future," she said. "What we are doing is important. We are forcing people to rethink the way they use transportation so that one day we can achieve a more sustainable world."