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Student civil engineering organization chapter takes first in environmental competition at regional conference

Bennett Leckrone | Apr 22, 2019
OVSC 2019

Student civil engineering organization chapter takes first in environmental competition at regional conference

Bennett Leckrone | Apr 22, 2019

Ohio University students took top honors for their work in the environmental competition and second place in the geotechnical competition, at the American Society of Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) Ohio Valley Student Conference, held Thurs.-Fri., April 11-12 in Akron, Ohio.

The conference called students from universities across the region to compete in a concrete canoe competition, a surveying competition, and more.

The Russ College of Engineering and Technology student chapter of ASCE, won first place in the environmental competition, in which they constructed a device to remove contaminants from water; and second place in the geotechnical competition, in which they constructed a dam. OHIO’s dam lasted the longest, but the team placed second.

Senior civil engineering major Clay Weckbacher, outgoing ASCE vice president, said seeing coursework in action was invaluable.

“It’s one thing to be told how to do the math, but then to see how it’s actually applied – it gives you a better sense of what’s actually going on,” He said.

Weckbacher was also the captain of the concrete canoe team this year, which fought rainy weather to place fifth. The team designed and constructed the full-sized canoe from concrete over a period leading up to the competition, before carefully transporting it to the conference to race on Turkeyfoot Lake at Portage Lakes State Park.

Ben Sperry, assistant professor of civil engineering and ASCE faculty advisor, said the competitions prepare students for the real world.

“The competitions mimic the situations that they will be facing when they graduate and move into civil engineering professional practice,” Sperry said.

Russ College students also competed in a steel bridge construction competition in Akron the same weekend. Mechanical engineering senior Jacob Salter, who has been team captain team for two years, said the team isn’t just about competitive success.

“This club is about much more than designing and building a bridge,” Salter said. “There are a lot of skills – interpersonal skills, management, leadership and others – that can be learned. We do a lot of things together as a group, so the most valuable part of steel bridge for me and probably everyone else is being on a team.”

Sperry said the ASCE conference also brings together students and alumni.

“When I hear from civil engineering alumni, many of their fondest memories were made during these ASCE events,” Sperry said. “It provides our alumni with a shared experience outside the classroom that they carry throughout their careers.”

Colleen Carow contributed to this story.