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Vanier Robotics

Math & Science Centre

Vanier Robotics

Team Constitution

Preamble

Here, we define the structure, membership, and set of policies and procedures pertaining to Vanier College’s Robotics Team. Put into effect as of the 2014-2015 academic year, this constitution aims to promote proper governance and guided decision making in order to foster an overall positive experience in all students involved.

Club Structure

Name

Re-emerging during the 2007-2008 academic year, the Club was introduced as the Vanier Robotics Team.

As of the 2012-2013, the name was changed to the Vanier Robotics Club where the adoption of the word Club was made in order to promote the idea that the organization is open to including all interested students without prerequisites.

Still open to all students, as of 2016-2017, the name has been changed back to Vanier Robotics Team in order to emphasize that it is a college supported initiative and not to be confused with clubs that operate out of the Vanier College Student Association (VCSA).

Location

The team operates out of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Centre located in D-301, a space that belongs to the college’s Learning Commons (we are temporarily in E-403 until the renovations are complete).

Sub-Teams

The Team structure is largely dependent on the evaluation criteria put into place by the CRC Robotics Organizers. Currently, the following five sub-teams operate:

  • Build – Responsible for the design, build and electronics of the robot. As well as working with the Web/Programming team to program the robot.
  • Kiosk – Responsible for the design, construction and presentation of the pit area.
  • Video – Responsible for scripting, casting, filming, subbing and editing the video.
  • Web/Programming** – Responsible for website design and development as well as programming for the robot and website.
  • Journalism – Responsible for website content.

** Webmaster: This title is given to the person whom the Web/Programming captain decides deserves credit for working the most work on the website. However, the Web/Programming captain will still have final say over decisions. The webmaster will not be allowed any executive power.

Affiliations

The Vanier Robotics Team operates primarily as a College funded extra-curricular activity.

The Vanier Robotics Team is a local initiative and has come into existence in order to compete in the robotics competition organized annually by the CRC, a subsidiary of EAST.

Theme

Each year, the Vanier Robotics Team selects a theme that will assist in linking the objectives and work of each of the 4 main Sub-Teams (Build, Kiosk, Video and Web). Theme selection is governed by the following process:

Phase 1: Theme Nomination

Theme nominations are submitted via an online form. A nomination must consist of a description of the theme, the theme’s name, as well as a description of how the theme will be integrated into the work of each of the sub-teams. For example, the nomination must describe how the design of the website will revolve around the theme, how the script of the video will incorporate the theme, etc. In addition, the nomination must also describe how the school will be integrated into the theme.

Phase 2: Theme Nomination Finalists

Once theme nominations have been received, the executive committee selects the top 2-3 nominations. Theme nomination finalists are selected based on their feasibility, as well as their ability to be fully integrated with the school and the idea of the competition. This selection process within the Executive Committee is done in whatever method deemed appropriate by the Team Captain, whether it being silent ballot or group discussion.

Phase 3: Theme Election by Full-Team Vote

The selected 2-3 themes from Phase 2 are put to a vote in which all team members participate. The votes may be cast in whatever fashion deemed appropriate by the Team Captain. The value of each team member’s vote is as follows.

  • Returning members: 2 pts
  • Outgoing members: 1 pt

In the event of a tie in this vote, the incoming team captain makes the final decision, with counsel from the college facilitator and outgoing Team Captain.

Special Cases

The following are special cases in which the Executive Committee may select the theme for the competition year, and bypassing the Phase 3 voting period. The executive committee must unanimously agree to invoke either of these special case scenarios.

  1. Only one (1) nominated theme is considered feasible enough for adoption as the theme for the competition year. In this case, the remaining theme must be adopted as the theme.
  2. No themes are considered feasible for adoption as the theme for the competition year. In this case, the Executive Committee must agree by majority vote on a theme for adoption as the theme for the competition year. In the event of a tie in this vote, the incoming team captain makes the final decision, with counsel from the college facilitator and outgoing Team Captain.

Membership

Roles & Responsibilities

Executive Committee

The executive committee is the Team’s highest governing body and is comprised of the five sub-team Captains, the Team Captain, Special Advisors (facultative), and the College Facilitator. Aside from the Facilitator, each member of this committee is given equal voting rights and is eligible to place a vote only during meetings that they physically attend (vote by proxy is permitted). This body concerns itself with team milestones, sub-team management, administrative affairs, sponsorship, financial matters, theme decisions, and team promotion.

Decisions may only be passed if a majority of present committee members are in favor. In the event of an impasse resulting for a tie, the Team Captain is given the right to offer a second vote.

The term of the Executive committee is from the end of the winter semester in which the previous competition occurred, to the end of the following winter semester, as defined in the Academic Calendar distributed by Vanier College.

Team Captain

The Team Captain is nominated by student members and a candidate is elected by popular vote by the Outgoing Executive Committee following the competition. A student taking on the role must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a full-time day division student.
  • Must be a returning member.
  • Must be willing and available to contribute a minimum of 8 hours per week to the Team.
  • Must be willing to be present during a majority of the winter break.
  • Must be willing to be present during most universal breaks.
  • Must be able to handle stress effectively, particularly during the pre-competition rush.
  • Must have good interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Must have exemplified leadership qualities during their initial year in the Team.
  • Must have above average organizational skills.
  • Must have great listening skills.
  • An ability to delegate tasks as required.

A Team Captain can expect and must be ready to take on at least the following set of tasks and responsibilities:

  • Assign and follow up with sub-team deadlines.
  • Touch base regularly with the sub-team captains to ensure teams are on task.
  • Keep written record of ongoing progress and touch base regularly with the Facilitator to report progress, deadlines, milestones, and obstacles.
  • Make executive and immediate decisions when appropriate.
  • Intervene in situations where there is a visible breach in the Code of Conduct.
  • Follow-up with sponsorship requests and maintain external partnerships.
  • Communicate directly with the CRC organizers when required.
  • Contribute towards the agenda ahead of Executive Committee meetings.

Sub-Team Captains

Each of the five sub-teams (Build, Kiosk, Web/Programming, Video and Journalism) are overseen by a Captain. Sub-Team Captains are elected by popular vote by the Outgoing Executive Committee following the competition. Students taking on these roles must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a full-time day division student.
  • Must be in good academic standings
  • Must be willing and available to contribute a minimum of 8 hours per week to the Team.
  • Must be willing to be present during a majority of the winter break.
  • Must be willing to be present during most universal breaks.
  • Must be able to handle stress effectively, particularly during the pre-competition rush.
  • Must have good interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Must have great listening skills and ability to delegate tasks as required.
  • Skills related to the sub-team’s scope are encouraged assets.

Sub-Team Captains can expect and must be ready to take on at least the following set of tasks and responsibilities:

  • Assign and follow up with tasks and deadlines assigned to sub-team members.
  • Touch base regularly with the Team Captain to report progress and obstacles.
  • Touch base with the Facilitator and be prepared to offer status updates as requested.
  • Communicate inventory/equipment needs to the Facilitator ahead of expected deadlines.
  • Keep an organized digital record of the sub-teams progress on Google Drive.
  • Intervene in situations where there is a visible breach in the Code of Conduct.
  • Plan and communicate sub-team meetings with membership via MIO, Facebook or other medium that has previously been agreed upon by the majority of the sub-team.

Note: Captaincy is a leadership role. Members filling those roles must be prepared to lead by example and remember that the position is not that of authority but instead it is that of mentorship and guidance. All members are equal and as such, Captains should aim to create an environment where ideas flow naturally, openly and with constructive criticism used as a form of feedback.

Special Advisors

Special advisor positions are Project Management postings which may be created at the discretion of the Executive Committee or College Facilitator. These positions may vary from year-to-year and are attributed to student members for very specific projects (e.g. Recruitment or Sponsorship). Special Advisors report to the Executive Committee and may be invited to attend their meetings depending on the advisor’s function. Advisors may call upon the Executive Committee to request aid and consultation.

College Administrator & Facilitator

This ex-officio role is exclusively reserved for the Vanier employee who is mandated by the College to oversee the Team’s existence and participation in the CRC competition. Currently, this role falls to the STEM Centre Officer. Although the Executive Committee is the Team’s highest governing body, the College Facilitator has the right to veto decisions related to expenditures, sponsorship, and funding – both internal and external. The Facilitator is also the decision maker when it comes to membership termination and re-admittance.

Student Members

Entry level position for all newly admitted members and most returning members, student members make up the bulk of the membership. They are responsible for collaborating, learning and offering their skills, knowledge and time to the sub-teams which they have formally applied to be a part of. Student members may report to one or more sub-team Captains.

Mentors

Mentorship positions are open to alumni members who are no longer students at the College, professionals in various industries, and staff or faculty members. Mentors may offer their expertise in the form of workshop sessions and advice; however, they are restricted by the CRC from physically interacting with any equipment that aids in the construction of any facet that will later be judged during the competition.

Admittance

Aside from the roles of Mentor and College Facilitator, membership is exclusively reserved to Vanier College students who are in good academic standing where such standing is defined by College policy. Students across all academic programs are welcomed and encouraged to join and must be willing to commit at least 2 hours per week to the Team. Although students may join at any point during an academic year, recruitment and involvement starts as early as late August.

Termination

Although not common, student members can have their membership to the Team terminated for various reasons. The two primary reasons for removal from the team are: (1) a severe breach of the Code of Conduct or, (2) a failure to remain in good academic standing. The period of termination may be temporary or permanent depending on the offence. Although the Executive Committee may recommend a student member for expulsion from the Team, the decision ultimately lay with the College Facilitator.

A student member who has had their membership terminated may be readmitted to the Team if academic standing changes or in the case of a breach of the Code of Conduct, by decision of the College Facilitator in consultation with the Executive Committee.

Code of Conduct

The following set of statements governs the expected attitudes and behaviours that all membership must respect in order to create a positive environment for all stakeholders.

  1. As members of the larger Vanier College community, all student members of the Team are expected to abide by the College’s code of conduct and zero-tolerance policy.
  2. With respect to the team work room, members are expected to:
    1. Keep the spaces organized and clean.
    2. Keep any noise made at a respectable level.
    3. Respect the students and staff members that occupy the areas.
    4. Use the areas for school work or Team related work (gaming on any computer is not permitted).
  3. Members are expected to deal with any internal disagreements amicably, professionally and with respect. Any long-standing disagreements should be brought up to a member of the Executive Committee or the College Facilitator for resolution.
  4. Members are expected to be open-minded and accepting of others and understand that all ideas are equally worth listening to and discussing as appropriate.
  5. In order to foster growth and continuity, returning members should actively seek to mentor new members and help integrate them into the Team as seamlessly as possible.

Broken Equipment

Members should always exercise caution and safety when working with any of the equipment and materials on site. Informing the college facilitator is an obligation if any damage to the equipment is noticed. Any item broken accidently will be paid back in part by the member responsible. Members caught vandalizing any equipment will be expelled from the team and will be required to pay the full purchase cost of the item(s) in question.

Team Spirit

All members should be proud of being a part of the Team and open to helping each other learn and grow together. Always actively listening and being open to ideas shared by others is essential, as respect is the key word to an enjoyable experience.

Members who do not comply with one or more of the above will be subject to warnings or potential removal from the Team.

Meetings

All meetings are communicated to the membership via the closed-group Facebook Robotics Team page, the D-301 bulletin board, and occasionally through MIO.

All Team

These meetings are open to all members of the Team and usually take place three or four times throughout the academic year. The purpose of these large scale meetings are normally reserved to introducing the Team to new members, showcasing the competition once rules are released, following up before the competition, and debriefing afterwards. These meetings are chaired by the College Facilitator.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee meets several times during a semester at predetermined times that are convenient for the majority of the members. These meetings are typically reserved to discuss ongoing progress across sub-teams, align objectives to the theme, and set/follow up with deadlines and milestones. Executive Committee meetings are chaired by the College Facilitator or the Team Captain.

Sub-Teams

Each of the five sub-teams may plan their own meetings, typically based on membership availabilities, during universal break, and over the course of the winter break. Sub-team meetings are frequently occurring and focus on setting and accomplishing tasks. Such meetings may also take on the form of lectures and hands-on workshops. These meetings are typically called and chaired by the sub-team Captains. The sub-team captain and college facilitator must be notified of all meetings beforehand. Furthermore, classrooms can be reserved in advance if required.

Special

Special meetings may be called at various points in order to address pressing issues or special topics of interest. Attendance varies depending on the purpose of each respective special meeting.

Budget

Internal Funds

A College sponsored initiative; the Team is primarily funded by the Faculty of General Education through a percentage of the budget distributed to the STEM Centre. The amount varies between years, and is controlled solely by the College Facilitator. A fraction of the internal budget is reserved for registration in the CRC Robotics Competition. The remainder of the internal budget after this deduction is distributed according the Budget Allocation clause of the Team Constitution below.

The annual allocation of the Team’s internal budget is subject to change at the discretion of the College Facilitator and in large part depends on the STEM Centre’s yearly budget.

External Sponsorship

External sponsorship is defined as any source of monetary or non-monetary tangible endowment offered to the Team in good faith or in exchange for promotional benefits as agreed upon with each individual sponsor.

Prepared sponsorship packages may be sent to various organizations as decided upon by the College Facilitator in agreement with the Advisor responsible for sponsorship management. The Executive Committee can be consulted as required, though the committee may not vote to influence changes in sponsorship related decisions.

All received sponsorship materials and funds must be documented and left within the STEM Centre or in the possession of the College Facilitator (specifically for monetary allocations).

Budget Allocation

The following are the criteria that both internal and external budget are to be divided amongst the Sub-Teams. Note that the distribution ratio of internal budget is based on the total internal budget AFTER the removal of the competition registration fee.

  • 45% – Kiosk
  • 40% – Build
  • 15% – Video
  • 0% – Web/Programming
  • 0% – Journalism

The Team Captain and the College Facilitator may, at their sole discretion, re-allocate funds to other sub-teams, provided that the sub-team whose budget is being reduced does not have an important need for those funds.

In the event of a non-monetary donation to the Vanier Robotics Team, the Team Captain and College Facilitator may, at their discretion, choose to adjust the allocation of funds amongst the Sub-Teams.

Budget Spending

The budget provided both by external sponsors as well as generous grants from Vanier College must be used with the utmost discretion possible. As such, the following are the rules and regulations for the spending of budget, both internal and external.

  1. Student Members may not make any purchases on behalf of the Vanier Robotics Team with the intention of being reimbursed without the expressed written permission of the Team Captain or College Facilitator.
  2. Sub-Team Captains are authorized to make purchases of 20$ per item or less without approval from the Team Captain provided that their total expenses for the competition year have not yet exceeded 75% of their allocated funds.
    1. Once 75% of a Sub-Team’s budget has been expended, all purchases therein must be pre-approved in writing by the Team Captain.
  3. Purchases of over 200$ per item at any time must be approved by a majority vote of the Executive Committee.
  4. Once 90% of the total allocated budget for all of the Vanier Robotics Team has been expended, purchases therein must be jointly approved, in writing, by the Team Captain and College Facilitator.
  5. All external expense receipts must have the Team Captain or College Facilitator’s authorizing signature in order to be eligible for reimbursement.

No exceptions to these regulations regarding the expenditure of Vanier Robotics Team budget are permitted, unless unanimously agreed upon by the Executive Committee.

Amendments

This document may be amended on future dates following its inception. The constitution is subject to re-evaluation once a year following the competition and before the start of a new academic year. The exact date of discussion and amendment is decided upon by the College Facilitator.

The decision to amend rests with the Executive Committee who must agree unanimously on each proposed amendment. Any member of the Executive Committee is permitted to offer a proposal for change where all proposals should seek to work towards the betterment of the Team.

The amendment process explicated here is modifiable based on the sole discretion of the College Facilitator and may not be modified by Executive Committee vote.

 

Date of ratification: September 2016
Approved by: Haritos Kavallos, Ariana Gagnon, Patrick Walling-Laperriere