Open to Talent

Bounce in their step

Whether it’s getting a kick out of Bubble Soccer or picking up the pace with their own racing car, students embrace innovation and teamwork

By Cherie Cooper

Bubble Soccer
Having a ball: Students test their skills in a game of Bubble Soccer.

Lectures, assignments and study are a big part of university. But so are ingenuity, teamwork and a good dose of fun.

These were the key components for two innovative projects at the University’s Sandy Bay campus.

In was a colourful “battle of the bulge” on campus as students competed in a Bubble Soccer tournament recently. Bubble Soccer sees players compete inside giant inflatable orbs. The players roll and bounce around as they play a game. Bubble Soccer is known for lessening the risk of injuries and, of course, for its excellent novelty factor.

"We pride ourselves on producing students who think outside the box in this way."

The tournament was organised by students in the University’s Tasmanian School of Business and Economics (TSBE) and the concept for the fun, high-energy event proved popular right away.

Business student Owen Barber, 20, is part of the class that held the tournament.

“We allowed for eight teams to compete and anyone that was a university student could sign up for a team. We filled up our eight teams in just three days,” he said.

The tournament was supported by Unigym, the Mat Goggin Foundation and the University’s Tasmanian School of Business and Economics. Professor Gary O’Donovan, Dean of TSBE, said the innovation of the students was commendable.

“We pride ourselves on producing students who think outside the box in this way; business and economics are areas that benefit from creative, lateral thinking just as much as theoretical learning.

“Teamwork, organisation and collaboration are vital employable skills in so many industries.”

An even faster-paced team project in the University’s School of Engineering could see students zooming around a race track in a car they designed and built.

Engineering students
All revved up: School of Engineering students
are designing and building their own
racing car to race at Calder Park.

Dr Jason Lavroff is the project director, and honours student Julian Cook is the chassis team leader. Together they lead a team of more than 30 students car. The team has built all the different components, from the ergonomics to the chassis.

The project is part of Formula SAE, an international student engineering design competition, hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Students take on the role of a small production team and within a year must conceive, finance and manufacture a prototype formula-style racing car that adheres to specific regulations. The project is managed and run by the students.

Generous donations of about $15,000 have helped the engineers create their dream car, but they hope to take the project even further – by racing in the Formula SAE Australasia championships later this year at Calder Park, Victoria.

The SAE project is embedded in the curriculum, with both third- and fourth-year engineering students involved in and assessed on aspects of the project.

“There is so much that students get out of this hands-on project,” Dr Lavroff said. “They learn to practically apply the theory they learn, from concept to design right through to testing and analysis.

“They also learn a whole range of other, highly employable skills, like team management, organisation, budget management and communication. The students enjoy it and I find it interesting. We have a lot of fun.”