D-Plus Two Weeks (Annalise Irby)

Our DAP presentation went very smoothly, pretty much what I had expected after our practices. I think we left a very good impression overall of hard work, creativity, and expertise. All our materials looked neat and professional, and as I mentioned before, the Ipads miraculously did not explode or go black!
Our proposal’s strongest features were its exterior (repainted, with an awning, radiant barrier, and bumper garden), detail and thoroughness in each of the three systems, certain great finds (materials-wise), and the number of donations we collected. Of course, our strongest presentation feature was Libertad’s amazing SketchUp model, colored and touched up by Rose. Unfortunately, we did not have time to put together that recorded virtual tour that we’d planned as our conclusion, but large, high quality images of the professional-looking model in different drawing styles really sold our design and tied up all the aspects of our presentation for our judges. Despite strong visuals, a memorable and very ’70s color scheme, and just the right amount of reference materials for our judges, our presentation had some weak points. One of them was our small number of samples (just one, for click-top marmoleum).
I know that my group did a great job of conveying all our hard work to the judges, though I was surprised at some of their later responses and questions. Our judges were a very diverse group, including skilled and knowledgable engineers affiliated with UT. (A few teachers, like Ms. Lakshmanan and Ms. Nixon, and Ms. Goka also watched, but didn’t ask many questions.)  One judge was personally comfortable with our use of recycled thrift-shop foam for pillows. Even under the new fabric covers, she worried about bedbugs; in the end, I think we fielded that question well and explained our reasoning. Other judges asked us to justify our reuse of the vintage jalousie windows, and explain what our plans for a finished Ventura were (both of which we answered without a problem). The judges also had a lot of questions about our contingency plan; if we presented again, I would emphasize our safety net in each category (water, exterior, etc.) and make it clearer initially. Our hardest question involved our water system calculations, which one judge challenged and wanted more specifics on. I fielded that particular question and believe I answered well, but afterwards I regretted not producing a clear visual or chart for our water calculations like we did for our electric system.
In the two weeks since D-Day, I’ve (almost) fully relaxed for the first time in months. Spring break might have had something to do with it, but I sometimes (almost) miss being in the thick of our project. I’m sure I’ll have many similar projects in college, especially if I study architecture or engineering. I do hope to forget the hours I spent looking through musty RV manuals and catalogs (not very fun) and the weekend activities that I had to miss in order to meet on Saturdays. But I’ve gained great experience, background knowledge, and skills in group work, presentation, research, and community outreach that I will draw upon in college and my future career.
Most of all, DAP has given me a new mindset and a new way of looking at my community. I notice campers, tiny houses, eco-news, green design, and green materials more every day in my city and my life. I have a huge new appreciation for DIY art and projects. (I’m trying to convince my parents to use green materials in our new side-porch!) I’ve also developed a new fear distaste of giant, monster RVs and huge mansions (shudder), waste-o-phobia…
Thanks for an exciting, scary, absorbing, intense, amazing DAP project, Ms. Jo!
Annalise Irby
Trendy Trailers Inc.

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