Students from 11 universities in the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Virginia to Middletown, PA compete in civil engineering design and construction competitions

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 Mid-Atlantic West Student Symposium was co-hosted by Penn State Harrisburg and York College of Pennsylvania April 13–15, 2023 in Middletown, PA. At the event, more than 230 civil engineering students from 11 universities in the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Virginia put their academic and project management knowledge to the test, participating in annual Society-wide competitions including the ASCE Concrete Canoe, the AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction)/ASCE Student Steel Bridge Competition, the ASCE/UESI (Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute) Surveying Competition, and the ASCE Sustainable Solutions Competition — Envisioning a New Downtown. Penn State University-University Park won 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.

George Mason 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. In addition to advancing in the Concrete Canoe Competition, the Penn State University-University Park team will also be advancing 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.

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.

"The winners of the Mid-Atlantic West ASCE Student Symposia competitions have truly impressed us with their hard work and dedication," said Maria Lehman, P.E., President of ASCE. "As they prepare to enter the workforce as civil engineers, their teamwork and critical thinking skills will prove invaluable. We wish them the very best as they continue on to 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 Mid-Atlantic West Student Symposium:

  • Catholic University of America
  • Geneva College
  • George Mason University
  • George Washington University
  • Pennsylvania State University-Harrisburg
  • Pennsylvania State University-University Park
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
  • York College of Pennsylvania

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.