Automotive Technology Organization: ATO


Established in 1982, the Automotive Technology Organization (ATO) has gained status as an SAE Student Club and was awarded SAE Student Branch status in September 1987. In the past, students have won the "Outstanding Student" award on five different occasions. The faculty advisor has also won the SAE Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award.

Each year since 1991, the ATO has traveled to the Detroit area to visit major automobile corporations and automotive attractions. This four-day event helps students see automotive career opportunities as well as to view the area where they might work after graduation. The ATO club is also very active in bringing corporations to the SIUC campus to talk with students about future career opportunities.

The ATO club is an official Registered Student Organization with SIUC, where the students hold elections for President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. The club is very active in professional, community, and social events. Each year, the ATO organize the following:
  • Spring and fall car care clinics for the public
  • 4-day Detroit area field trip
  • Faculty/student picnics held each semester
  • Faculty appreciation banquet each December
  • Field trips to various automotive assembly plants each year
  • Trips to SAE meetings in St. Louis, Missouri


The ATO members participate in a variety of different social activities, such as the construction and racing of the ATO racecar. The ATO members have built a 1966 Chevy Nova with many parts that where either donated or purchased by funds raised by student projects. Each semester, two student drivers are elected by the ATO members to race the car at the 1/8th mile track. Also, in the past, the ATO has hosted the "Dodge National Collegiate Driving Championships" held at SIUC. The ATO club helps students in many ways, such as through mentoring, tutoring, and helping new students adjust to college life. Lastly, the ATO works as a great recruiting tool for the automotive program as well as contributing to the high retention rate of the students.

Community Service


The Automotive Technology program promotes community service at the student, faculty, and program level. Students are encouraged to participate in community service through the ATO. The ATO provides two free car care clinics each year to the public at large. Through the car care clinic, students work with vehicle owners and complete an inspection of their vehicle's emissions, tire condition, fluids, belts, hoses, and lighting system. The car care clinic is advertised in the local paper and it is free of charge. This community service activity is very popular and, at times, over one-hundred members of the community have participated.

museum image ATO students visiting a museum on the annual Detroit Area Trip

car care image Students work on car during a free auto car care clinic

race car image ATO drag racing with the club car