Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1246, (14 - 20 May 2015)
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1246, (14 - 20 May 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Making progress happen

Sarah Eissa reports on a recent Cairo University event that celebrated the accomplishments of young Egyptians

Al-Ahram Weekly

Last month, Steps Towards Progress (STP), a student activity designed to recognise young people’s achievements, held its tenth anniversary and closing ceremony under the dome of Cairo University in Giza. Members of the winning teams from the last ten years gathered to celebrate, and the organisation awarded this year’s prizes to the winning teams.

Engy Al-Faqih was one of 188 student members of the STP’s external relations team, said the organisation’s vision was to take the lead in developing activities run by young people since they are the ones who will represent the future of the country.

STP organised four main projects during the academic year, including a solar challenge at Cairo University that was open to students from other universities. The solar challenge included three phases, each with different problems. Each team put in tremendous efforts, according to Al-Faqih.

She said the competition aimed to raise awareness of renewable energy and to encourage students to apply their studies at university to developing applications for it. Some 90 teams applied for the competition, each one ranging from between eight and ten members. These were then filtered through the different phases to around 20 teams.

The three winning teams agreed that they had lacked information and the main aim of their participation had been to try practical work that differed from the theoretical work they did at university.

“Even if we had not won the competition, we would have found out lots of useful information,” said Eslam Amr, team leader for the Power 2018 team and a first-year mechanical engineering student. He said the team had not thought it would win, mainly because the team members had only studied the basics of solar energy.

However, they managed to design a solar-powered car that won the competition. “At the beginning we were the worst team as our car almost didn’t move,” Amr said. But later the Power 2018 car was the fastest. Amr added that because of the team’s initial failure it had faced extra costs. “We paid for almost two cars in one,” he said, laughing.

The team is now planning to design a single or double-person vehicle that can go more than 100 km an hour. Then it will enter the World Solar Challenge competition with the car. Team members have divided into different groups, each one concentrating on a different field.

At the Cairo event, the team won LE6,000, and Gaber Nassar, president of Cairo University, announced that the university will pay its expenses to travel for one month to any country it choses for further training.

Amr said that team members chose to go to Germany because it is a leading country in renewable energy. However, he was afraid the expenses might be too much for the university, at around 1,200 euros for each team member. “I hope we can go, nevertheless,” Amr said.

During the ceremony, the Sabeq wa La’eq team won the prize for most innovative design and was awarded LE2,500. Mohamed Ayman, the team leader and a second-year computer engineering student, said the team plans to participate in other competitions inside Egypt and abroad. He said he would like to see other student activities and organisations seek fund for activities like STP and have the opportunity to organise competitions in different fields.

The Phoenix team won the prize for best aesthetic design and received LE1,500. Michael Tharwat, the team leader and an engineering freshman at Cairo University, said the team initially lacked information but found what was needed on the Internet and through support from STP sessions. Some of the team members were planning to start other projects in the engineering field but had not settled on their ideas yet, Tharwat said.

At the ceremony, other winners were also announced and given medals and certificates. Al-Faqih said that five applications were reviewed in the computing category, with the best one being ElectroBoy, a game that shows how electronic components are used. “This application is on Play Store now,” she added.

Another winning team in the business simulation section was Fawel, the first food truck in Egypt serving fastfood. Solar cookers and solar heaters were also recognised.

The writer is a freelance journalist.

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