Joplin’s State Energy Plan Meeting 2014 and Team ShelteR3
By Daniela Carvajal
I am part of the Solar Decathlon contest with team Shelter3, and when I found that I could be helpful in a State Energy Plan Meeting in Joplin, I thought it was a worthwhile opportunity to learn and engage more in the project.
The day of the meeting was slightly intimidating, but in the end, an extremely useful one. Since English is not my first language, I have had situations where people seem to have problems understanding me. I was concerned about being asked about the project, and not being able to clearly and concisely explain it.
I was also intimidated by the audience, because they seemed much more important and professional than I did, and I felt nervous about not being able to help my teammates.
It was, in the end, a very useful experience for both the team and me. It gave me the opportunity to experience a public relations event, something I’m not very familiar with. It also made me much more confident when talking to all the attendants that were interested in the project, which made me much more helpful to my teammates. While one of my teammates gave an exposition about the project, another teammate and I were in charge setting up our panel in case any of the government officials or professionals were interested in more information about our house.
Our attendance resulted in our being able to talk with several experts and potential donors for our cause. We even talked to a lady who came to us, excited to talk about her own solar efficient house and how her design was presented on a past Solar Decathlon contest by Crowder. She mentioned that her house was the first entry from Crowder College to be presented in the competition. We also had the opportunity to be published as part of a local newspaper’s report about the event, which helped us in our effort in brand awareness.
All in all, I might still feel a bit intimidated about public relations and networking on my own, but this is mostly because of cultural issues and shyness. However, the Solar Decathlon contest was the start of my combating this issue, and I’m sure it will make me a better professional in the future. I am much more confident than I was when it all started, and that is indeed a helpful experience.