SSR Governing Principles
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Stanford Student Robotics’ mission is to cultivate a diverse community of Stanford students in robotics. We envision our club as a space that welcomes builders of all backgrounds to explore robotics at all levels, up to and including the state of the art. Our full charter can be found on our Slack; this page merely summarizes the points of greatest interest to our general community.
Before reading on, it may be helpful to think of Stanford Student Robotics as a venture capital fund. Unlike conventional VCs, we manage limited funds (~100s of thousands), have no profit motive, and invest purely in learning. That means if there’s something cool you want to build, we’re happy to cut checks to make it happen, so long as it benefits our overall community’s learning!
Membership and Code of Conduct
You must be an enrolled Stanford student (not on leave of absence) to be a member of Stanford Student Robotics. This includes undergraduates, masters/coterminal degree students, and graduate students. To be a member, you must have attended at least one event/meeting during your most recent quarter on campus. We expect our members to help us maintain a safe and constructive environment for robotics. In the case of egregious misconduct, contact an officer immediately.
Not a student? There’s many other ways to support our organization. If you’re interested in sponsoring, mentoring, or otherwise connecting with Stanford Student Robotics, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Unfortunately, faculty, staff, post-doctoral scholars, alumni, and non-student community cannot hold leadership roles or represent the group in any capacity.
Activities and Projects
Our club is an aggregation of project teams, with project cycles ranging from a quarter to a year in length. Each project team has significant autonomy, meeting usually once or twice a week. We encourage builders of all backgrounds to submit project ideas! There are four classes of projects you should understand:
- Workshops and Classes: These run outside of the standard project structure. Workshops are one or few-shot build sessions in collaboration with lab64. Currently, we also run EE64SI (an intro class to making) and CS123 (an intro class to robotics with AI).
- Small-scale projects: Running between a quarter and a year, these projects are often educational and fun in nature.
- Recurring projects: Often competitive in nature, these projects have specific challenges in mind.
- Long-range projects: These projects often seek external funding and reach far beyond Stanford.
Why join a project? We believe the best path to learning is doing: there’s a lot of cool stuff you learn when working towards an explicit goal. Our primarily project-related expenditure is equipment, but we also commit funding towards robot testing, travel for competitions and robotics conferences, and smaller quality-of-life items (e.g. that pizza at your next meeting).
There are three permanent roles on the Robotics Council, our club’s steering committee. These are two Co-Presidents and a Financial Officer, all of whom should be on campus for the entire year. You should consider these three equal in decision-making authority. Talk to Co-Presidents for project-related details and Financial Officers for reimbursements and sponsorship details. These are either elected or appointed (if interest is limited) at the end of each calendar year.
Co-Presidents and Financial Officers may change the size of Robotics Council at their discretion: any changes should be approved by the majority of Robotics Council and are permanent for one year following enactment. Additional members on Robotics Council are Vice Presidents for particular areas of interest, such as recruitment or external fundraising, and should be considered second only to Co-Presidents and Financial Officers in decision-making authority.
Project leads are independent of the Robotics Council (indeed, often project leads are promoted into Robotics Council should they wish to serve the robotics community in a broader sense). They should run their own meetings and spend funds according to their budget. They are also highly encouraged to recruit a diverse team and promote leaders of subteams of their larger project.
There are two times when the Robotics Council may exert influence on a project after it is approved. The first is budget extensions or unapproved expenditures (those not in budget and not cleared by the Financial Officer). As long as the expenditures are reasonable, we err on the side of funding the expenditures: however, egregiously unnecessary purchases will not be reimbursed. The second time Robotics Council can intervene is when operations of a subteam get in the way of inclusivity and learning, either within the subteam or in terms of the image of SSR as a whole. In this case the minimum necessary changes will be requested by the Robotics Council. Funds will be frozen until these changes are made, or the team can be spun off as an independent project unaffiliated with robotics.
Send questions about these guidelines to email@example.com!