BYU-I places third in concrete canoe competition

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The BYU-Idaho concrete canoe a month after the competition. Photo credit: Rose Jones.
The BYU-Idaho concrete canoe a month after the competition. Photo credit: Rose Jones.

Students from BYU-Idaho attended the Intermountain Southwest American Society of Civil Engineers Student Symposium and came third place for constructing a concrete canoe.

At the symposium, held at the University of Nevada, students participated in leadership events and competitions as members of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The display for the concrete canoe with the theme Ricks College. Photo courtesy of William Kemper.
The display for the concrete canoe with the theme Ricks College. Photo courtesy of William Kemper.

These yearly symposiums help civil engineers learn and understand more about engineering and how to find solutions to the problems they may face while preparing for competitions. 

The canoe competition determined the teams with the best technical explanations for constructing their concrete canoes. Teams also recived points for how well their canoes raced in the water.

The schools raced their boats in 65-degree weather with the sun shining down on them and spring in the air.

“We got burned so bad,” said Peter Glanzer, a junior studying civil engineering at BYU-I.

The BYU-I students did not expect to experience a large change in the weather. They traveled from a freezing Idaho to a warm and sunny Nevada.

The BYU-I Spirit and participants in the water at Sparks Marina. Photo courtesy of Cameron Price.
The BYU-I Spirit and participants in the water at Sparks Marina. Photo courtesy of Cameron Price.

To prepare for this event every year, BYU-I students of the ASCE spend the Fall semester learning the requirements for the competitions available through the Intermountain Southwest ASCE Student Syposium website.

In the competition, each school presented a proposal of its project and a final product prototype, gave a technical presentation and raced its canoe.

Around 20 BYU-I students collaborated on a concrete canoe, starting in the Fall 2022 semester. They came in third place at a competition in Utah. Because the project takes place over the course of a couple of semesters, there are other students ā€” not just engineers ā€” who helped out to construct the canoe.

Students moving the concrete canoe. Photo courtesy of Sarah Porter.
Students moving the concrete canoe. Photo courtesy of Sarah Porter.

“If people are ever curious to just come by, there’s always some hands-on task that you don’t need that much experience,” said William Kemper, a sophomore studying civil engineering.

During the construction and planning of the concrete canoe, students ran unexpected outcomes to their plans. They planned on making the canoe 18 feet and found out in the end that somehow the canoe was 19 and a half feet in length. 

According to Glanzer, the biggest takeaway this year for BYU-Iā€™s team was to use a lighter material to make the concrete canoe and ensure all the components of the canoe stick together so it does not fall apart as easily.

Since the competition ended on April 15, the team chose a new leader to head the construction of the canoe for the 2024 competition. Kemper, who also participated in the team this year, received the honor.

There are also people who are going to compete in other competitions that are available through this program. In 2024, BYU-I students from ASCE will participate in three competitions: the concrete canoe, timber-strong design build and sustainable solutions.