THOUSANDS WILL VISIT PSU this May when the university hosts the 2011 Baja SAE Kansas competition, the first international Baja challenge to return to the state in a decade.

Approximately 100 teams-including 24 teams from eight other countries- will compete in the engineering design competition, which will be held May 26-29 on the PSU campus. Portions of the competition will be held at the Kansas Technology Center, while events such as the four-hour endurance race will be held on PSU property located east of Rouse Street near the Student Recreation Center and the Kansas Polymer Research Center.

Selected as one of three locations in the United States to host Baja competitions this year (other sites include Birmingham, Ala., and Peoria, Ill.), PSU automotive technology professor Trent Lindbloom said College of Technology faculty and staff have been busy preparing for the event since last summer. PSU’s centralized location, strong involvement with SAE, and available resources made the university an attractive option for the event, which was last held in the state at Kansas State University in the late 1990s.

“We could not be more thrilled that we were selected,” said Lindbloom, who was a founding member of PSU’s first Baja team 20 years ago. “We are using this competition as an educational experience for students from every department.”

With hundreds of students and faculty involved in the competition, there has been much work to get done. Construction students helped design the courses, build an access road to the property, and perform surveying and topography of the property. They’ve also been clearing land, building and testing the tracks, and maintaining the rugged course for the four-day competition.

Graphics and Imaging students are creating banners, apparel, and signage for the event. Automotive students have been busy fundraising for and building PSU’s competing Baja vehicles. Along with students from engineering technology, as well as technology and workforce learning, they will also serve as event volunteers.

College of Technology Dean Bruce Dallman said he’s ecstatic about an event that will provide such an incredible opportunity to showcase the College of Technology, university, and community.

“We have a longstanding tradition of involvement with our competitors, so to be able to have this event here is wonderful,” he said. “We are so excited for this event to take place.”