Global Kickoff 2014

23–28 October | Stanford University

Since 2007, the Global Kickoff has become a annual shared tradition for SUGAR members, both those active in the current academic year and those who have participated in events in years past. The Kickoff marks the start of student team projects and brings together over 150 participants from universities around the world with their industry liaisons and other enthusiasts of engineering design and innovation.

Who Should Attend

  • Stanford University students, teaching assistants, coaches, and industry liaisons in the ME310 class
  • Global student teams working with Stanford ME310 teams (often called "ME310-Global" partners)
  • Global student teams and their respective partners working in similar project-based classes, often modeled in the spirit of ME310 (often called "SUGAR-Global" or "Global-Global" partners)
  • Others interested in learning more about SUGAR
  • Select industry guests and colleagues

Program Agenda

The Kickoff experience will be a mix of design and engineering innovation activities, team exercises, prototyping practice, guest speakers, site visits, and more. You may preview a draft agenda, as team roles and site visits are being rapidly finalized. The objective is to make the program as collaborative and constructive as possible.

Registration Fees

The event attendance fee for SUGAR participants and guests is $500 per person, which covers all program activities including multiple site visits, four meals, coffee service, a private campus tour, and much more.

  • SUGAR teaching teams, SUGAR-Global students, and others: Register online at
  • ME310-Global teams: Register directly with John Richardson, which includes completing an "Exchange Auditor Packet" to comply with Stanford University policy. Up to three teaching team members and up to two corporate liaisons are included with each global project team.

Each SUGAR school may register industy liaisons and other guests on their behalf.

Note that only registered participants may attend the SUGAR Global Kickoff. Registered participants receive first priority access to all scheduled site visits, which will fill up on a first come basis.

Event Location

This year we are thrilled to return to Stanford University. The majority of Kickoff activities will be held on campus, specifically the (Peterson building) atrium. See directions here.

Paper Bike Competition

The paper bicycle design challenge has been a memorable feature of ME310 for over a decade. In years past, the competition revolved around an actual race — multiple teams traversing a course from start to finish. More recently, the challenge has evolved to incorporate a number of traditional games (e.g., polo, capture the flag, etc). This year, a competition will be conducted in the field in "Lake" Lagunita (don't worry, now dry) on campus. Please refer to the ME310 wiki for instructions and competition rules.

All student teams are invited to compete in this year's Paper Bike Competition. In the past, SUGAR teams often start preparing their bike designs in early October and then bring their bikes to the Global Kickoff event, either traveling with them or shipping them in advance.

All non-Stanford student teams—namely, 310-global and SUGAR-global—will complete final assembly of their paper bikes at The Radicand Lab, located near campus at 220 Pine Street, Redwood City, CA 94063. There is no need to arrive early to Radicand because team assembly time has been set aside during the program.

Questions about shipping details, specific tools, extended access hours, or other topics should be directed to Teams who cause significant lab damage or debris will be required to pay a $1,000 penalty fee.

The Radicand Lab is a collaborative platform for rapid prototyping, design engineering & hardware product development in the heart of Silicon Valley. Founded by ME310 alumni, Radicand provides a full suite of services to hardware entrepreneurs (including space, access to tools and equipment, and expert advising) as well as a curated hub for freelance engineering design consulting.

Social Activities

We invite all SUGAR teams to join the following opt-in social activities:

  • Thursday, 23 October: "SUDS" group dinner at 6 PM, hosted by the ME310 team, campus location TBD
  • Friday, 24 October: Casual group dinner (no host bar) at 6 PM at the Oasis Beer Garden located at 241 El Camino Real
    Menlo Park, CA 94025
  • Saturday, 25 October: "Ideation" play performing at 8 PM at the San Francisco Playhouse, purchase tickets here (use the code FAF50 for half-price tickets online or with the box office), highly recommended by ME310 alum Mark Schar

Travel Guidance

We encourage you to book your travel immediately:

You may fly either into the San Francisco International Airport (recommended, 26 miles from campus) or San Jose International Airport (17 miles from campus, fewer options for international flights).

Many hotels are already booked because the Kickoff event coincides with Stanford’s Homecoming weekend. These two hotels still have availability at affordable rates and are both close driving distance to campus and Radicand. No group code is needed, although the staff knows to expect multiple calls mentioning “Stanford" or “SUGAR”.

Days Inn

  • 2650 El Camino Real, Redwood City
  • Nightly rate: $92-$140 (depending on room type)
  • Phone: +1 650-369-9200

Pacific Inn

  • 2610 El Camino Real, Redwood City
  • Nightly rate: $94-$120 (depending on room type)
  • Phone: +1 650-306-2415

Local Transportation
We suggest that each project team consider coordinating a single rental car together in order to carpool. Other team members may use the Uber mobile app (approx. $45-60 one way) to take a personal taxi from the San Francisco airport to the Stanford area, which is 40% cheaper than typical taxi services.

As you may have heard, campus parking will be tricky this week due to Stanford’s Homecoming. You have some options, including:

  1. Park at the closest campus public lot, $1.50 per hour, directions at
  2. Park discreetly at Stanford Mall for free and then take the free Stanford Marguerite shuttle to campus, schedule at
  3. Take the SamTrans bus to campus and avoid any parking, routes and fares at

See Stanford’s guide for how to thrive without a car:

Dress Code

Casual attire is appropriate. Weather in late October is typically 25°C (77°F) high and 10°C low (51°F) low, so please pack accordingly. We recommend dressing in layers, especially bringing jackets for chilly evenings and any time in San Francisco.

Campus Visitor Information

The Stanford campus offers a wealth of sightseeing and educational opportunities. Please see Stanford's Visitor webpages to find several resources to help you plan your visit to campus. A group campus tour has been scheduled as part of the SUGAR program.

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