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Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture ASCE Competition

Concrete Canoe Takes “Product Crimson” to National Competition

WSU's canoe used in the National Concrete Canoe Race

By Melisa Virnig, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture Intern

The concrete canoe team, part of the WSU student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), took first place out of nine teams from universities around the Pacific Northwest at the regional competition held at the University of Portland this spring.

The team qualified for and attended the national competition, held June 16-18 in Evansville, Indiana.

The concrete canoe competition requires students to construct and race their concrete canoe, with new rules each year to challenge the teams to change and create new mixes of concrete. In addition to their first place overall win, the team took first place in their design report and their oral presentation. The faculty advisors for ASCE are Associate Professors David Pollock and Dave Yonge.

Washington State University's concrete canoe team prepare to race

This year’s canoe was named Product Crimson, inspired by‘Product Red,’ an organization that serves to combat AIDs in Africa. The team’s vision was to expand on that idea, but to include other global issues such as war, disease, clean water, poverty, and sustainability.

“This is really our way of saying that we care about these issues and want to do something about it,” ASCE President Daniel Shin said. “Our theme truly symbolizes our fight against global problems, and we hope to present our canoe as a small step towards a solution.”

The team put in a total of approximately 1,000 hours to design and build the concrete canoe. Their success came from good preparation and a strong drive to do well, said Shin.

“We really wanted to be aggressive in all aspects of the competition,” he said. “We were also really organized, and we prepared well in advance. We spent a lot of time on it.”

The WSU ASCE Steel Bridge team also headed to nationals, after taking third place in their regional competition in Alaska this spring. They took 15th at the national competition, held at Texas A&M University in May.