Regional competition winners advance to compete in the ASCE Civil Engineering Student Championships in June at University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Reston, Va. – The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2023 Gulf Coast Student Symposium took place at University of South Alabama March 9 – March 11, 2023, in Mobile, AL. At the event, more than 400 civil engineering students from 14 universities in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, along with one guest school (Clemson University), put their academic and project management knowledge to the test, participating in annual Society-wide competitions including the ASCE Concrete CanoeASCE/UESI (Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute) Surveying Competition, the AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction)/ASCE Student Steel Bridge Competition, and the ASCE Sustainable Solutions Competition – Envisioning a New Downtown. The University of South Alabama will advance to the Society-wide finals for the Concrete Canoe competition, ASCE’s flagship student event, where students compete to construct a canoe made entirely out concrete that is capable of floating and racing.

Auburn University will advance to the finals for the ASCE Sustainable Solutions Competition, where students are tasked with using sustainable practices to transform a fictional area into a gathering place for a community. Mississippi State University placed first in the ASCE UESI Surveying Competition, which asks students to use standard field and office equipment and procedures to solve common problems encountered in industry, including a topographic mapping project and determining the depths of a proposed sewer line at different locations. University of New Orleans placed first and University of South Alabama placed second in the Student Steel Bridge Competition, which requires students to develop a concept for a scale-model steel bridge spanning 20 feet and carrying at least 2,500 pounds. Both were invited to the National Finals. 

These teams have qualified to compete at the Society-wide finals as part of the ASCE Civil Engineering Student Championships June 10-12 at University of Wisconsin-Platteville in Platteville, WI.  

“Congratulations to all the winners of the ASCE Gulf Coast Student Symposium competitions,” said Maria Lehman, P.E., President of ASCE.  “These competitions provide an opportunity for the future of the civil engineering workforce to demonstrate their critical thinking and collaboration abilities. ASCE is proud to recognize their work, both through these competitions and throughout the school year, and we wish them luck at the Society-wide competitions in June.” 

The first ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition was held in 1988, but the history of Concrete Canoe goes back to the 1960s, when a small number of ASCE Student Chapters began holding intramural concrete canoe races. The competition requires students to construct a seaworthy canoe made entirely of concrete. The competition 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, designed to test the knowledge, creativity and stamina of each team. 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  ASCE Civil Engineering Student Championships 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 were represented at the ASCE Gulf Coast Student Symposium: 

  • University of South Alabama (host)
  • Alabama A&M University
  • Auburn University
  • Jackson State University
  • Louisiana State University
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • McNeese State University
  • Mississippi State University
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of New Orleans (2024 host)
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • Clemson University (guest team)

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.