Getting Started in VexU

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Season Overview (US Centric)

  • May - Game Reveal

    • At the end of the Vex Robotics World Championship each year, the game for the following season is announced. At this time, teams can order Game/Field Elements, read over the rules, and begin planning for the following season.

      • Since this is also the time of year that High School seniors are finalizing their college decisions, it is likely that some incoming Freshmen will contact teams. It is often a safe practice to delay robot design decisions until the next semester begins so that ALL recruits/incoming members have the ability to actively participate in the team.

      • This is a great time to work out logistics of the VexU team for the following year. Discuss topics like officers, budget, goals, etc. while there is still time to plan and not get distracted by robot designing.

  • August - Fall Semester Begins

    • This is the most common start time for US universities, but it may fluctuate. This is when the majority of recruiting & onboarding for new members should take place. It is best practice to take the first few weeks of the semester to advertise the team on campus, host a call out meeting, and wait on designing the robots until you have members onboard and on-campus.

  • December - Early Season VexU Tournaments Begin

    • Since the majority of VexU teams don't touch their robots until September/October, the earliest competitions are normally in the middle of December each season. If there are no competitions nearby, running skills at a VRC event or hosting a scrimmage is a great way to set a deadline for the team without having to travel far.

  • January/February - Majority of VexU Tournaments

    • The vast majority of VexU competitions take place between January & March. Check the RECF Qualifying Criteria for more information about how teams can qualify to the World Championship each year. VexU often times has a limited number of events as well, so expect to need to travel some distance to competitions and scrimmages.

  • April - Vex Worlds

    • Historically, the VexU world championship has been alongside the VRC Middle School, and VRC JROTC world championships. This is typically the last week in April, or the first in May. RECF will announce dates & venues for each coming world championship in June/July during the Event Partner Summit.

      • Since the final invitations for the world championship do not get sent until late March, it is oftentimes helpful to begin planning transportation/lodging before a team becomes qualified for the event. Ensure that refunds are possible with any reservations if this approach is taken.

Starting a Team

The first thing that has to happen when starting a VexU team is to find a group of students to participate. Most often, for new VexU teams, this comes from a group of students who competed in VRC joining together at a university. If there are enough students to start the club, hanging flyers around campus and hosting a call-out meeting to explain the program are a great way to generate more interest in the team.

If there is known interest on a university campus, the process of having the university recognize the club can begin. Different schools will have different requirements but the core is most commonly a group of student officers, and a faculty advisor. A faculty advisor should be able to help with the majority of the process.

Becoming a recognized student organization should help with the majority of aspects needed when starting a VexU team. This will vary by university, but Registered Student Organizations (RSO) often receive access to a bank account, university email services (for joined accounts), and assistance with finding a workspace.

This will be one of the most difficult aspects to creating a VexU team as space is limited & expensive at most universities. The space does not need to be fancy by any means, but there should be room for the 12'x12' field (ideally with walking space around it), 2-3 tables for working (one specifically for cutting), and storage for parts. As a team is formed and begins working, the specifics of a space will change & best practices will be developed, but there needs to be a foundation before work can begin.

Look for space in research focused buildings on a univeristy campus, or often times discarded rooms under the control of a specific school. Often times, universities will have rooms that were allocated for a specific use years ago that is no longer being utilized in that way.

Reach out to university alumni, local companies, and STEM education programs for funding. Learn more about budgeting and funding options in our Team Finances articles.

Learn more in our Robot Events articles.

Team Branding

Depending on the size of the associated university, there may be guidelines for the branding of a team. If a team is associated with a university, there will likely be branding guidelines and limitations as to how one should present the university. Regardless, it is best practice to develop a branding guide for the team that has primary colors, fonts, and formats of the team's logo.

The best way to begin branding is through social media like Instagram to share what the team is working on & show off sponsors alongside upcoming events.

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