A United Nations flag plaza on wheels

  • Sunday, December 18, 2016

    Flag cart - 2016PRINCESS ANNE, MD. - (Dec. 18, 2016) - Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noël, Mere Kirihimete, schastlivogo Rozhdestva, sretan Božić, veselé Vánoce.

    These are just a few of the ways current UMES students might say “Merry Christmas” in their native languages this time of year.

    In the spirit of the holiday season,  UMES Department of Technology  elves delivered a hand-crafted gift to the  Center for International Education  prior to winter commencement; a custom-built cart capable of holding dozens of flags representing home countries of current and former students, and faculty. 

    Administrative assistant Elissa Gordon had been wrestling with how to better organize the center's colorful inventory so she could quickly put her hands on a particular national flag at a moment's notice.

    When Gordon started work at the center this past spring, dozens of pole-mounted flags were randomly stored upright in a closet of what originally was an on-campus faculty bungalow.

    National flags of current students at UMES are part of the university's pageantry, including a parade of the banners during commencement exercises each December and May.

    At the suggestion of a colleague, Gordon contacted Dr. Tyler Love to inquire whether technology engineering education students could conjure up a solution to the cluttered closet conundrum.

    Love immediately saw Gordon's dilemma as a way to create a hands-on problem-solving project, so he recruited senior David Cain and juniors Jonathan Moore and Ahmari Carrigan to tackle the challenge.

    The UMES students took detailed measurements of the closet's dimensions and the width of its door, the height of the ceiling and the uniform length of all 96 flagpoles the center currently utilizes.

    Back at a workshop in the Thomas & Briggs Arts and Technology Center, the trio and Love ran the numbers through a computerized design program and came up with a three-dimensional model for a four-wheel cart that could easily be wheeled in and out of the closet.

    The key factor, Love said, was a design so flags on 6-foot poles could be stored and removed (unimpeded by 7-foot 10-inch ceilings) from a plywood panel featuring a grid of 128 precision-carved holes he jokingly said resembles Swiss cheese.

       Flag cart under construction

    “It gives (students) a context to identify and solve a real world, STEM (science technology engineering & math) problem,” Love said.

    Moore and Love estimate the project took about 30 hours to design, craft and assemble. Materials cost roughly $70.

    Gordon and Dr. Lombuso Khoza, the International Center's acting director, were all smiles when Love and Moore rolled the cart through the front door.

    “Oh, my,” Gordon said. “This is a wonderful holiday season gesture.”

    Love and Moore gave a brief demonstration and described how the project came together.

    “It was all about the engineering design process,” Love said, “which is what (technology engineering majors) will be teaching (high school) students someday.”

    UMES Office of Public Relations, (410) 621-2355