RIT’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers hosts regional conference

More than 300 students will also compete in concrete canoe and steel bridge design competitions

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Max Schulte/Democrat and Chronicle

Civil engineering technology students build a canoe made from concrete and test it in RIT’s pool before competing in the annual Association of Civil Engineering Technology concrete canoe competition. The regional competition will take place at RIT April 18-20.

Concrete canoes do float.

Proof of this concept will be on display at the Upstate New York Regional Student Conference of the American Society of Civil Engineers, taking place April 18-20 at RIT. More than 300 students from a dozen university chapters of the society from New York and Canada will participate in the concrete canoe and steel bridge design competitions. Viewing competition events and displays at RIT is free.

RIT last hosted the regional event in 2006, says Jack Susman, 2013 conference chair.

“There’s so much to the event, and there’s so much the students put into it,” says Susman, a fifth-year civil engineering technology major in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology. “In fall, the teams get certain specifications for the new canoe and bridge for that year. It’s interesting to see young engineers come together and build something so complex such as a steel bridge that can hold significant weight, or canoe made with concrete that can float.”

The steel bridge competition takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, April 19, in RIT’s Clark Gymnasium. Teams set up bridges 17 feet long, 4 feet wide. They are judged in several categories including adherence to design specifications, and the ability to hold a weight-load of 2,800 pounds.

Concrete canoes will be on display the same day in the Clark Auxiliary Gymnasium.

The concrete canoe competition takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at Hundred Acre Pond located in Mendon Ponds Park, Mendon, N.Y. Following safety and flotation testing, teams will complete in men’s, women’s and co-ed team races in the water.

Winners of the events will be announced at the awards banquet being held from 6 to 9 p.m. April 20 at the RIT Inn & Conference Center. Winners from the regional event qualify for the national competition hosted by the national society in June at the University of Illinois at Urbana.

Note: More information about steel bridge design and construction can be found in a video from the RIT student team at one of the earliest Imagine RIT Innovation and Creativity Festivals.