Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico wins Sustainable Solutions Competition and Colorado School of Mines wins Surveying Competition

Reston, VA. – California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo finished ahead of 19 other teams from across the country and around the world at the 35th annual American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Concrete Canoe Competition+. The school’s team of engineering students and their canoe, Europa, came out on top after three days of competitions at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA to win the “America’s Cup of Civil Engineering.” 

This year’s competition was the first in-person society-wide competition since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the culmination of 20 regional events across the country that took place this spring and includes the addition of two new society-wide competitions that were added this year to showcase a wider array of civil engineering disciplines: the ASCE Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute Surveying Competition and the Sustainable Solutions Competition—Tiny House Challenge.

For ASCE’s flagship competition — Concrete Canoe — teams are assessed in four areas of competition: a paper detailing the design and construction of the canoe, oral presentations about the planning and creation, the final product and canoe races. This year’s canoes were put to the test on Sunday in Hoogland Lake at Lincoln Parish Park during a day-long series of races including men’s and women’s slalom races, men’s and women’s sprint races, and a co-ed sprint race. 

“Congratulations to the winners and all who participated in this year’s Concrete Canoe Competition+ Society-wide finals which featured the pre-pandemic camaraderie that makes the event so unique and rewarding,” said Dennis D. Truax, ASCE President. “The future is bright, and this competition truly showcased our aspiring engineers’ creativity, resourcefulness, teamwork and impressive knowledge.” 

While a canoe made out of concrete is not expected to float, finding the solution to this problem represents the core of engineering challenges and problem solving. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo’s victory marks the school’s sixth championship in the 35-year history of the competition, the most all-time wins and says that knowledge from previous competitions is passed down through the alumni.

“It’s indescribable. It’s one of the best days ever. I’m so happy,” said Heather Migdal, California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo senior construction manager and paddler. “We have such a small team. We only have seven people on our team this year, but we’re so tight knit. Everyone was so happy to be here.”

The California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo students excelled in the races on Sunday, and also won the technical proposal and technical presentation categories, while claiming the R. John Craig Legacy Award. New York University–Tandon earned first for the final product, and Western Kentucky was recognized with the award for enhanced focus areas.

The Sustainable Solutions competition challenges students to develop a stronger understanding of sustainability and learn to incorporate sustainable solutions into everyday problems that engineers incur, such as homelessness. The “City of ASCE” posted a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a site design for a tiny-home community to address homelessness. 

This year’s winner of the “Tiny House Challenge” is Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. “Lots of hours were invested in this project so we are very happy,” said Jesus Collantes, one of 14 team members from the University. “All of the projects were incredible. We enjoyed meeting so many students from other schools and learning from them as well.” 

The surveying competition was designed in recognition of the importance of basic surveying principles to all civil engineering projects. For the competition, students are required to use standard field and office equipment and procedures to solve common problems encountered in the industry and demonstrate a clear understanding of and ability to apply basic surveying principles on the job site and during the design process. The competition also includes a topographic mapping project and presentation. 

This year’s winner of the ASCE/UESI Surveying Competition is the Colorado School of Mines. “It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience as well,” said Hanna Fitzgerald, one of the Colorado School of Mines surveying team members and a graduating senior who has already accepted a position in the construction management side of engineering. “It was great seeing and talking with all the other schools surveying teams and hearing about what they are doing.”

2022 Rankings

Concrete Canoe Overall
  1. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  2. Université Laval
  3. Western Kentucky University
  4. Youngstown State University
  5. New York University–Tandon
Sustainable Solutions – Tiny House Challenge
  1. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
  2. University of California, Los Angeles
  3. Zhejiang University
  1. Colorado School of Mines
  2. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  3. George Mason University

ASCE and Louisiana Tech University organized this year’s Concrete Canoe Competition+ with generous support from the ASCE Foundation, National Pre-Cast Concrete Association (NCPA) and 3M.

More information on the Concrete Canoe Competition+, including a list of all winners.

Additional photos of this past weekend’s events and all teams are also available by emailing Cathy Gillen.