ASCE teams from around the world compete in Ruston

Louisiana Tech University’s American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) student organization hosted the 35th Annual ASCE Concrete Canoe Society-wide Final Competition on Louisiana Tech’s campus and at Hoogland Lake last weekend.

Nearly 400 guests from 40 universities across 20 regions worldwide came to Ruston to compete. Throughout the event, guests had the opportunity to enjoy the Louisiana Tech campus, Hoogland Lake at Lincoln Parish Park, and Downtown Ruston.

The Louisiana Tech ASCE team coordinated with leadership throughout Louisiana Tech and the Ruston community on scheduling and securing infrastructure throughout the year. Members of the planning committee worked to ensure that competitors had on-campus housing, as well as options to stay in local hotels, and that participants had access to campus and community maps and information through a website dedicated to the event. The committee also coordinated event schedules and evening entertainment, which included banquets and the Ruston Peach Festival.

“There is a lot of work that goes into hosting an ASCE society-wide competition and Louisiana Tech did an excellent job this weekend,” said Jason C. Wilson, Civil Engineering Instructor, Civil Engineering & Construction Management Program Coordinator, and Faculty Advisor for the Western Kentucky University team. “I have been to 10 ASCE society-wide competitions and this was the smoothest one yet. Their planning and execution was flawless, and Louisiana Tech’s facilities were phenomenal. The students were able to enjoy themselves and it was great to see the excitement of an in-person competition again.”

Heather Migdal, senior construction captain and a paddler for the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo team, which won first place at the competition, said the Cal Poly participants enjoyed the sense of camaraderie among all the teams at the event.

“What I loved about this competition (and the whole team agrees) was getting to meet all the other schools and talking to other people who love concrete canoe as much as we do,” Migdal said. “Everyone was happy to talk to us about all the ideas and techniques that go into making a canoe, and my team and I were able to learn a lot. The sense of community between schools was amazing. We were all friends that cheered each other on throughout race day and at the awards ceremony. There was mutual respect and genuine happiness for each other’s successes which can be rare in competitions. The entire room exploding with applause every time we up to receive an award is an indescribable feeling that made the countless hours that went into building the canoe and practicing paddling worth it.”

The Louisiana Tech team qualified for the competition by winning and placing first overall the Concrete Canoe competition and Sustainable Solutions Competition, as well as placing in the Tug O’War and Transportation competitions at the Gulf Coast Regional Competition.

At the society-wide competition, the team ranked second in the Men’s Slalom, and sixth overall in the Concrete Canoe Races. The team ranked in 11th place overall.

“We are so thankful to the ASCE for the opportunity to bring over 400 people to Ruston and Tech for an incredible weekend of fun events, great competitions, and new friendships,” Katya Opel, Civil Engineering doctoral student and leader of the Louisiana Tech Concrete Canoe Planning Committee, said. “After two and a half years of waiting and planning, this weekend could not have gone any better. I am so grateful for the immense support for faculty, staff and students that helped us pull this off.”


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