Regional Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe Competition

Newswise — Clarkson University will be the site for this year's regional conference of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) concrete canoe and steel bridge collegiate competitions.

Twelve teams from universities throughout New York State and Canada will be in Potsdam, N.Y., April 8-9 to compete in a series of design competitions that will include building steel bridge and racing concrete canoes. Most of the competitive events will take place on Saturday, April 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Cheel Arena on the Clarkson campus and at Norwood Lake in Norwood, N.Y.. Events are free and open to the public.

This will be the first year Clarkson will be hosting the annual event, which is being organized by Clarkson ASCE Student Chapter. Competition sponsors include Atlantic Testing, Jefferson Concrete, the Association for Bridge Construction and Design, the Clarkson SPEED program, AKG Construction, Aramark, Ecology and Environment, P.C., and Conestoga-Rovers & Associates.

Teams from Clarkson University, SUNY Canton, Cornell University, Ecole de Technologie Superieure in Montreal, Rensselaer Polytechnic University, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Institute of Technology, University at Buffalo, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, University of Ottawa, Union College, and Hudson Valley Community College have all registered for the competition.

The ASCE and the American Institute of Steel Construction sponsor the National Steel Bridge Competition, which challenges teams of students to design and build a 1:10 scale model that will hold at least 2,500 pounds of weight with minimal deflection and cost. Each bridge must also meet a set of design requirements and specifications as outlined by competition rules. The National Concrete Canoe Competition challenges students to design and build a streamlined canoe by creating a magical mixture of cements, water and aggregates that floats. The ASCE and concrete construction industry leader Master Builders Inc. are sponsors of the canoe competition.

Collegiate teams participating in the Steel Bridge Competition must build bridges on site. Designs are judged by professional engineers and architects in six competition categories, including construction speed, lightness, stiffness, construction economics, aesthetics and structural efficiency. The Clarkson Steel Bridge Team finished in second place out of nine teams at last year's regional competition held at SUNY Buffalo and qualified for the national competition.

Concrete canoe teams must pass a flotation test and will compete in canoeing races at Norwood Lake. The Clarkson Concrete Canoe Team has participated in the Upstate New York Regional Competition since 1995.

A complete schedule of activities, times and locations will be available at the Upstate New York Regional Competition Web site

Clarkson's Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge teams are part of the University's SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) program, which promotes multidisciplinary, project-based learning opportunities for more than 250 undergraduates annually. SPEED projects involve engineering design and analysis, fabrication and the enhancement of professional competencies such as budget management, effective teamwork, and communication skills.

The SPEED program is one of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering hallmark initiatives promoting the "Vision of a Clarkson Education" through experiential learning by hands-on application of academic theory to real-world problems. SPEED receives its primary financial support from Alcoa, Corning, Eastman Kodak, the General Electric Fund, and Procter & Gamble and was recognized with the 2001 Boeing Outstanding Educator Award and the 2002 Corporate and Foundation Alliance Award for its exceptional contributions to improving undergraduate engineering education.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York, is an independent university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in engineering, business and the arts and sciences. Its academically rigorous, collaborative culture involves 2,700 undergraduates and 400 graduate students in hands-on team projects, multidisciplinary research, and real-world challenges. Many faculty members achieve international recognition for their scholarship and research, and teaching is a priority at every level. For more information, visit

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