Concrete Canoe and Sustainable Solutions winners advance to compete in society-wide contest in June at Louisiana Tech University

Reston, Va. — The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2022 Western Great Lakes Student Symposium took place at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign April 7–9, 2022. At the event, more than 400 civil engineering students from 19 universities in Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Canada and one guest team from Egypt that competed virtually, put their academic and project management knowledge to the test participating in annual society-wide competitions including the ASCE Concrete Canoe, ASCE UESI Surveying Competition, ASCE Sustainable Solutions Competition – Tiny House Challenge, ASCE Construction Institute Student Symposium Competition, and the AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction)/ASCE Student Bridge Competition. One university, Ain Shams University competed virtually from Egypt.   

The Milwaukee School of Engineering won the ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition and the University of Illinois, Chicago team won the ASCE Sustainable Solutions Competition. The University of Wisconsin, Madison team won the UESI Surveying Competition. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign won the ASCE Construction Institute Competition. The Lakehead University team won the AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction)/ASCE Student Bridge Competition, qualifying for the National competition May 2728 at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA.  

The Concrete Canoe, Surveying and Sustainable Solutions winning teams have qualified to compete at the 35th Annual ASCE Society-wide Competitions June 35 at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA. The Lakehead University team won the AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction)/ASCE Student Bridge Competition, qualifying for the National competition May 2728 at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA.

The ASCE Concrete Canoe competition requires students to collaborate as teams and use engineering skills to design and construct a seaworthy canoe made entirely of concrete. Each team must compete in multiple categories: Technical Proposal, Technical Presentation, Enhanced Focus Area, Final Product, and several racing events, for a chance to move on to the finals where the winner will compete against 23 other teams from schools around the globe.

The ASCE Sustainable Solutions Competition challenges students to develop a stronger understanding of sustainability and learn to incorporate sustainable solutions into everyday problems that engineers incur. Students are encouraged to be creative in their solutions and use all resources available. This year, students delve into a tiny-home community challenge to address homelessness.

The ASCE UESI Surveying Competition’s educational and professional goals include a recognition of the importance of basic surveying principles to all civil engineering projects. Students are required to use standard field and office equipment and procedures to solve common problems encountered in industry. A clear understanding of and ability to apply basic surveying principles will assist the graduate civil engineer in communicating and working with the surveying professionals on the job site and during the design process.

“Congratulations to all the winners of the ASCE Western Great Lakes Student Symposia competitions,” said Dennis D. Truax, President of ASCE. “Students exemplified key attributes to success in the civil engineering field throughout the competitions: civil engineering knowledge, ingenuity, and teamwork. The Society is proud to recognize the work these students have put in throughout the school year and wish them luck at the Society-wide Competition in June. However, regardless where they finished in the competitions, we applaud each student and each program that participated in this year’s symposia and recognize the hard work all the students have put in their projects during the school year.”

In its 35th year, the ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition, the student symposium’s flagship event, challenges civil engineering students to apply the engineering principles learned in the classroom to a real-world task, while utilizing project management and team building skills. The Concrete Canoe program consists of both athletic and academic events. The competition is designed to test the knowledge, creativity and stamina of each team. Over the course of the school year, teams plan, research, and construct a canoe out of concrete. The competition evaluates teams on design and construction, a technical proposal, an enhanced focus area, a formal business presentation, and five different races—men’s and women’s slalom races, men’s and women’s sprint races and a co-ed sprint race.

The Society-wide Concrete Canoe Competition+ is organized by ASCE and hosted annually by a university student chapter, thanks in part to funds provided by the ASCE Foundation. 

The following schools participated in the symposium: 

  • Bradley University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Lakehead University (Canada)
  • Marquette University
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • North Dakota State University
  • Northwestern University
  • Olivet Nazarene University
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Minnesota Duluth
  • University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of St. Thomas
  • University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • University of Wisconsin-Platteville
  • Ain Shams (guest team, virtual from Egypt)

About the American Society of Civil Engineers

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. ASCE works to raise awareness of the need to maintain and modernize the nation's infrastructure using sustainable and resilient practices, advocates for increasing and optimizing investment in infrastructure, and improve engineering knowledge and competency. For more information, visit or and follow us on Twitter, @ASCETweets and @ASCEGovRel.