Sustainable Solutions Team takes third in the ASCE society-wide finals competition

The student chapter of Louisiana Tech University’s American Society of Civil Engineers Sustainable Solutions Team placed third at the ASCE 2021 Virtual Concrete Canoe Competition, beating out teams from around the world for the honor.

The ASCE Sustainability Competition provides a forum for student teams to present research and techniques to build a sustainable future while maintaining the quantity and quality of available natural, economic, and social resources.

After winning first place in the Deep South Regional Conference with a sustainable park design, Mathew Alvarez, civil engineering senior from Longview, Texas, Charity Durr, civil engineering junior from Shreveport, Rose Emery, chemical engineering senior from Maurepas, Amanda Gordon, the 2021-2022 ASCE conference chair and civil engineering senior from Covington, and Lori Hawkins, team lead and civil engineering and environmental science senior from Shreveport, set out to improve their design for the society-wide final conference.

Dr. Elizabeth Matthews, Louisiana Tech ASCE faculty advisor and associate professor of mechanical engineering, says that the team earned their success through a commitment to their project and hard work.

“I am so proud of this team and the hard work they put into preparing for Sustainable Solutions. It was definitely a year with many challenges, but they persevered and to win third place in the society-wide competition demonstrates the level of commitment and effort they put into competing.”

Hawkins says that she’s proud of their success, especially since she recruited the team shortly before the Deep South Conference. The team developed a plan in four weeks and submitted a technical summary, public outreach poster, and envision checklist documentation for the sustainable park with COVID safety measures in place. After regionals, the team had roughly a month to discuss ideas to improve their presentation, adjust the cost sheet, and perfect calculations, while also preparing new presentations.

“I was asked to be the Team Lead for the Sustainable Solutions team in late March/Early April,” she said. “I had no team and the interest for participation was low because it was a design project only. So, I went about finding folks that were interested in taking on the challenge of design and a short time frame for the deliverables, and my team was fantastic!

“Each person naturally fell into a niche of what they did well. We worked through all of our design thoughts and created a park that fit the requirements of sustainability and reusability. The experience with this team was tremendous. Each person on the team has tremendous potential for their future engineering endeavors. Since my engineering degree is my second career, I have had many of the experiences of teamwork and competition. I used my leadership to provide guardrails for their creativity and talent. And they excelled!”

Both Emery and Gordon echo Hawkins’s excitement about the team’s win, the work the team put in, and the lessons they learned from the project.

“We worked hard preparing for nationals and had fun doing it. It paid off in the end when we placed third,” Emery said.

“We are proud to have placed third in the Sustainable Solutions competition,” Gordon said. “We will continue to work and improve and see everyone next year right here in Ruston for the society-wide finals.”

“Overall, the amount of work that we did with an extremely tight timeline was tremendous,” Hawkins added. “And I could not be more proud of the team for their contribution and success. I would work with them any day. As I look to the future, I am certainly volunteering to lead a team again to a first-place win next year!!!”

Louisiana Tech will host the 2022 ASCE Society-wide Concrete Canoe Competition in Ruston next summer.


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