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Think of it as the Olympics of collegiate civil engineering programs.
The University of Wyoming chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has been presented with a once-in-a-decade opportunity: to host the ASCE Regional Student Conference March 29-31.
"ASCE has been a wonderful organization that I have been a part of since I was a freshman," says Conference Chair Margaret Kimble of Lakewood, Colo. "It's a great opportunity to meet other people from all around the region who are interested in the same things you are."
More than 300 students, including more than 25 from UW, representing 14 schools will compete at the conference.
All of the events involve an aspect of civil and architectural engineering, including model bridge endurance, two essay competitions and a mystery design competition. One of the most popular events is the concrete canoe competition.
"This challenge will focus on fluid dynamics. Students design and build canoes out of real concrete," she says. "Then, groups of men and women from each team will compete using the canoes on open water in three challenges: the slalom, endurance and a sprint."
The concrete canoe competition will take place in Curt Gowdy State Park, east of Laramie.
Although the competition focuses on many civil engineering basics, a few of the competitions focus on more unorthodox practices within the profession.
"To focus away from ‘standard' civil engineering, we have what's called a pre-design competition," Kimble says. "This year, it will be a water wheel challenge. Students will design a water wheel that can lift a weight in a specific amount of time."
The conference also will feature a philanthropic event called ‘Can'struction, in which teams have been asked to participate in a canned-food drive.
"Teams will be given a 10-by-10-foot square and they'll have to build a structure out of the canned food they've brought," Kimble says. "Each team will be judged on how many cans they have, as well as how it relates to this year's theme: ‘Childhood Dreams."
Members of the public and UW community are welcome to attend events. For more information, visit UW chapter of ASCE's website at http://www.eng.uwyo.edu/societies/asce/index.html.