Georgia Tech 2023 Sustainable Solutions team
The Georgia Tech sustainable solutions team wins big at the ASCE Civil Engineering Student Championships.

For the Georgia Institute of Technology sustainable solutions team, creating a successful future is all about growing roots in communities.

It was that focus that led the student team to earn first place in the 2023 ASCE Sustainable Solutions Competition–Envisioning a New Downtown at the first ASCE Civil Engineering Student Championships, hosted by the University of Wisconsin–Platteville, June 10-12.

“Everyone on this team was extremely dedicated to the project from the beginning. And the shared vision of what we desired the outcome to be certainly helped us throughout the year,” said Antonia Kopp, team co- captain and ENVISION leadership manager.

Sustainable Solutions student teams from around the world competed in ASCE’s regional student symposia throughout the spring with 16 advancing to the Society-wide finals in Platteville.

Louisiana Tech University finished second overall, followed by UCLA in third. Georgia Tech was also named fan favorite of the competition.

“This award really recognizes everyone’s hard work throughout the year. This has been an incredible experience for me and everyone on the team,” said Jackie Zong, Georgia Tech co-captain and 3D design manager.

“We won this award, but we know that this is a competition. So we hope to take what we learned from this competition to make a real impact in the world.”

Georgia Tech 2023 Sustainable Solutions team poster Erin Reddy Wolff
The Georgia Tech sustainable solutions team displays their “Growing Roots” vision for the “City of ASCE.”

This year’s competition challenged teams to create a downtown block of “Engineer Street” site design for the fictional “City of ASCE” that could revitalize an underutilized area into a gathering place for the community while incorporating Envision sustainable infrastructure standards.

Since the competition task centers around a fictional city, students primarily focused on research, design, and presentation. The Georgia Tech team created a 3D model walkthrough video to showcase their proposal as proof of their innovation and forward-thinking for civil engineering and the built world.

The team took inspiration from four existing designs for their “Engineer Street” concept: the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design, the Georgia Tech EcoCommons, Technology Square in midtown Atlanta, and bike lanes and bus stops in Seattle.

They reimagined the space in the “City of ASCE” to incorporate a stormwater management system. Their plans also supported multimodal transportation uses, a new educational community center, and other sustainability aspects that bring the community together.

But you can’t build for community needs if you don’t know what they are. So the Georgia Tech included their own community engagement process.

“We brought this presentation to one of our classes at Georgia Tech. It’s called, ‘Building for Equity and Sustainability.’ And the class is filled with a bunch of students from architecture, civil engineering, and other majors,” said Zong.

“I think that getting feedback from them was important to improve our design. So I think the community engagement was also really important to our success.”

In addition to Kopp and Zong, the Georgia Tech team included Kriti Kumar, Tyler Rhine, Mary Helvie, Anahi Canales Dominguez, Nayzet Pena, Johnathan Rankine, Arya Desai, and Makaela Edmonds. Check out what the team and the rest of the Georgia Tech ASCE Student Chapter is doing @gtasce on Instagram, or on the ASCE Georgia Tech LinkedIn.

Learn more about the ASCE Sustainable Solutions Competition.