Redefining the Classroom

Alumni Association in love with new wheels

Posted: March 1st, 2006

February 28, 2006
DREAM MACHINE -- Engineering students pose with a customized golf cart they built and sold to LSSU’s Alumni Association for a club fundraiser. From left are Mike Zavislak of Washington Township, Mich.; Wes Moilanen, Hermansville; Ryan Newill, Waterford; Price McAllister, Sault Ste. Marie; Don Farnsworth, Big Rapids; Rob Birbeck, Belleville; Chris Pevey of Kingwood, Texas; Nik Hargenrader, Brighton; Justin Hester, St. Joseph; and Derek De Rossett, Otisville. (LSSU Photo by John Shibley)

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – It’s the machine of a dream, such a clean machine; with pistons a pumpin' and the hubcaps all gleam. When you’re holding its wheel, all you hear is its gear . . ..

With all due respect to a ‘70s pop-music anthem by Queen, LSSU’s Alumni Association got a new set of wheels – specifically, a golf cart hand-customized by engineering students.

The cart is a labor of love by the Lake Superior State University chapters of Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). It was sold to LSSU’s Alumni Association to raise funds for SAE field trips and engineering outreach activities.

Alumni Association President Gary Kay and Director of Alumni Relations Susan Fitzpatrick took the keys during LSSU’s home hockey stand against NMU.

SAE students started the project in the fall of 2004 with the acquisition of a golf cart chassis. The cart’s rear frame was cut off and replaced with a frame that moves independently of the front, giving it added off-road capability. The stock motor was removed and replaced with a 330 cubic-inch ATV engine from a 2004 Polaris Magnum. An all-new shock package is installed on the front and back in order to support the beefier engine’s added weight. Front and rear bumpers were fabricated, and lights were added to the front. Students with IEEE and ASME soon joined the project to keep momentum going.

The entire body was painted and remounted, and seats were either reupholstered or created from scratch to give the cart its final custom look. The project took more than a dozen students more than a year and a half and nearly 1,000 man-hours of effort.

SAE thanks former advisor Dan Goodrich and former club presidents Donnie Farnsworth and Ben Eles for getting the cart project going. The undertaking would not have been possible without Derek DeRossett, current SAE club president, and Lynn Auto Parts, who provided many parts at a significant discount.

The Alumni Association plans to use its cart for special LSSU events such as Great Lake State Weekend, Freshman Move-In Day, and Lakerpalooza. The cart is available for rent on a limited basis. Contact Susan Fitzpatrick in the Alumni Office at 906/635-2831 for more information. –LSSU-