UB-ASCE places first, second in Upstate NY regional competitions

ASCE bridge and canoe competition

UB students claimed first prize in the steel bridge building contest and second place in the concrete canoe races at last week’s American Society of Civil Engineers upstate New York student conference on North Campus. The UB teams qualified for national contests in Texas and Utah, respectively. Photos: Chad Cooper

Published April 21, 2016 This content is archived.


Many students, staff, faculty and alumni turned out to cheer on UB's steel bridge and concrete canoe teams during the ASCE Upstate New York Region Student Conference, held on UB's north campus April 14-16, 2016.

ASCE chapters from 14 universities arrived at the University at Buffalo with their concrete canoes, steel bridges, and technical presentations. Conference highlights included the following events.

Steel Bridge Competition

Bridges were judged based on overall strength, aggregate weight, and construction speed. Teams assembled the bridges, and tested their rigidity by performing a 2,500-pound load test. UB's team took first place, and is moving on to the national competition, which will be taking place in Provo, Utah this May.

"I think we did really good. We had a couple of penalties but it turned out as we expected," said Mitchell Hares, civil engineering senior and steel bridge team member.

Concrete Canoe Competition

Concrete Canoe races began bright and early on Lake LaSalle on UB's North Campus. Teams competed in Women’s Sprint and Endurance races, Men’s Sprint and Endurance, and Co-ed races, and were judged on final product, design report, presentation, and paddling, each weighing 25% of their final score. UB's team came in second, and will be going to nationals in Tyler, Texas this June.

The UB concrete canoe team started gathering and testing ideas a year in advance of the competition. About 25 students worked on subteams focusing on different aspects of the canoe. 

"We design the canoe ourselves, and then we go into the half-scale pour, which is half the size of a normal canoe," said Roger Laister, civil engineering senior and concrete canoe project manager. "We use that to practice our techniques, get new members involved and allow the full-sale pour to be of better quality."

The conference concluded on Saturday evening with an awards ceremony and dinner banquet at the Buffalo/Niagara Marriott.

UB ASCE is currently raising funds to help cover expenses for both the steel bridge and concrete canoe teams to travel to the national competitions. Donations can be made here